If any more proofwas needed of the healthy state of Russian film, last night's awards ceremonyat the 26th Moscow International Film Festival should convince anysceptics.
Dmitry Meskhiyevswept the festival's top prizes winning the Golden St George for best film aswell as best director for his WWII war drama Us (Svoi) which alsogarnered the best acting prize for its lead Bogdan Stupka.
It was the firstwin for a Russian film in the Moscow competition since 1991, the last festivalof the Soviet era, when Karen Gevorkyan took home the Golden St George for his SpottedDog Running At The Edge Of The Sea (Pegij Pyos Begushchij Krayem Morya).
Chairman of thisyear's jury Alan Parker was full of praise in his speech at the closingceremony saying the film was not only the best of the festival but "the bestfilm he has seen anywhere for a very, very long time." He went on the say that "Russia should bevery proud of Meskhiyev.
Set during August 1941 during the German invasion of Russia, Us centreson three captives who manage to escape but find themselves caught up inuncertain, hazardous surroundings
The FIPRECI juryalso gave its top prize to a Russian film, Havest Time, a debut byMarina Razbezhkina with an extraordinary performance by actor Vyacheslav Batrakov,a handicapped actor who plays a Russian soldier who returns to his wife andyoung sons after the war after losing both his legs.
The special juryprize went to the Estonian film Revolution Of Pigs by directors JaakKilmi and Rene Reinumagi while the prize for best actress went to China Zorillafor her role in Talking With Mom by Argentinian director Santiago CarlosOves. O
One of the mostemotional moments of the festival came as actress Meryl Streep acceptedthe Konstantin Stanislavsky Life TimeAchievement Award from festival president Nikita Mikhalkov.
Presented by11-year-old Alex Prier, a descendant of Konstantin Stanislavsky, the actresswas overcome when the boy, an accomplished opera signer serenaded her with asong, dropping to her knees and placing her award at his feet.
The winner of thenew Perspectives competition for debut films was young Japanese director HidetoTakahata who also received a check for $ 20,000 and 10, 000 meters of KODAKnegative film to be able to make his next film.
MoscowInternational Film Festival prize winners:
Best Film: Golden St George:
Us Dmitry Meskhiyev (Russia)
Best Director: Silver St George:
Dmitry Meskhiyev Us (Russia)
Silver St George Special Jury Prize
Revolution of Pigs, dirs: JaakKilmi and Rene Reinumagi (Estonia)
Best Actor Prize
Bogdan Stupka, Us (Russia)
Best Actress Prize
China Zorilla, Talking With Mom(Argentina)
Life Achivement Prize: "Believe It!Konstantin Stanislavsky"
Perspectives:Debut Film Award
Hotel Venus (Japan), dir: Hideta Takahata.