The 28th Moscow International Film Festival (June 23-July 2) wrapped onSunday with the festival awards ceremony and Pedro Almodovar'sVolver as the closing night film. Despite thefestival's new hub this year being relocated to the Soviet-era Oktyabr Cinema multiplex, complete with a 1500-seatpremiere hall, organisers chose to hold opening and closing ceremonies, as inprevious years, at the 1800-seat Pushkinsky Cinema.
After the debacle of Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke'seleventh-hour refusal to chair the main jury, the remaining jury members chosecult Polish filmmaker and existing jury member AndrzejZulawski to be jury president. Rounding out the mixwas actress British actress Julie Christie, Canadian actor Remy Girard andFrench film critic and producer Pierre- Henri Deleau.The jury's only local member was director and producer Alexei Uchitel, whose film Dreaming of Space won the MIFF's top award last year. In their presenting of awards, Zulawski and Uchitel both invokedthe jury's main criterion for choosing the best work: would one pay to go seethis film'
This year's Golden St. George Award for Best Film went to About Sara(Om Sara), directed by Karim Othman of
Despite being passed over for a top award, Jeremy Brock's coming of agestory Driving Lessons was the clear favourite of the festival, winningkudos from critics and audiences alike with the jury prize, audience award,Russian critics award and the Best Actress nod to Julie Walters for herspirited turn as an aging actress.
The Perspectives programme, now in its third year, had a three-memberjury chaired by Czech film-maker Petr Zelenka and including Russian director Nikolai Lebedev and Macedonian actress LabinaMitevska. The jury gave its top prize to TheSource (Chashma),directed by Yolkin Tuichiyevof
In other awards, the Fipresci prize went to JeffreyJeturian's Kubradorfrom the
This festival's most feted guest was Gerard Depardieu, in town toreceive a lifetime achievement award for acting, which last year went to hisfrequent co-star Fanny Ardant. At his pressconference, French cinema's jolliest compere Depardieugushed about his love with Russian culture and 'soul' and his desireto play Dmitry Karamazov from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Healso named two things that were killing good cinema: big money and television.