The 61st BFI London Film Festival (LFF) crowned its winners tonight (October 14) during a ceremony held in the UK capital.
Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless was named best film in the festival’s official competition by a jury led by American Honey director Andrea Arnold.
The powerful and incisive dissection of Russian society is Zvyagintsev’s fifth feature. His fourth film was the Oscar-nominated Leviathan, which won best film at the 2014 LFF. Loveless, which premiered in Competition at Cannes Film Festival this year, is Russia’s entry for the 2018 foreign-language film Oscar race.
The jury – which commented that Loveless was a “very poetic and beautiful film” and “a critique of our current psychological and political moment” – also featured Under The Shadow director Babak Anvari, actors Eric Bana and Lily Cole, film programmer Ashley Clark, director Alexei Popogrebsky and Dunkirk producer Emma Thomas.
They also commended Annemarie Jacir’s Wajib, praising the portrait of ordinary Christian Arabs living in Nazareth as ”a call for patience, respect and understanding”.
In the first feature competition, the main prize – the Sutherland Award – went to John Trengove’s South African drama The Wound.
The jury, led by composer and producer Melissa Parmenter, said they were “enamoured” with the film’s “urgency, vitality and originality”. The jury also featured actors Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory, filmmaker/artist Isaac Julien, and journalist (and Screen International contributor) Kaleem Aftab.
They also gave a special mention to Carla Simón’s Summer 1993.
In the documentary competition, the Grierson Award went to Lucy Cohen’s UK feature Kingdom Of Us.
Oscar-winning documentary producer John Battsek, and his jury comprised of editor and producer Paul Dosaj, creative director Liesel Evans, and directors Edward Lovelace, James Hall and Norma Percy, commented that the film “captures an extraordinary level of family intimacy in its delicate exploration of grief and memory”.
They also gave special mentions to Makala and Before Summer Ends.
Elsewhere, the short film competition crowned Patrick Bresnan’s The Rabbit Hunt, while Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass was presented with an honorary BFI Fellowship by Working Title co-head Tim Bevan.
The 61st BFI London Film Festival closes on Sunday night (October 15) with the gala screening of Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.