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Beanpole wins main award at Ljubljana Film Festival

Ljubljana, 23 November - Beanpole, a Russian historical drama directed by Kantemir Balagov, was declared the best film of the 30th Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) as the awards were handed out on Saturday.

The 30th Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe), which will take place between 13 and 24 November.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The poster for the 29th Ljubljana International Film Festival in Slovenska Street.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

It was an unanimous decision by the international jury to confer the Kingfisher Prize on the story about a young woman returning with a child to Saint Petersburg after the Second World War.

"The film vividly presents to the audience the Leningrad winter of 1945/46, while completely mastering the contemporary film language at the same time," the jury said.

"The film topics, characters, refined psychology and the narration and visual strategies effectively address the modern audience," it added.

A special mention as part of the Kingfisher Prize went to Angelo by Markus Schleinzer, a 2018 film based on true events from the 18th century, about an African boy taken under the wing of a Vienna countess as a sort of a social experiment.

"The film shapes a biography of a historical person and, in doing so, effectively avoids conventional approaches to the genre through a unique and bold directorial perception of the Enlightenment era," the jury said.

The other special mention was for the Slovenian Blaž Kutin for his screenplay for Lara, a musical drama by Germany's Jan Ole Gerster.

The jury said that Kutin had used a precise screenplay to construct and analyse the main character, taking the viewer eventually to the point where they were able to see her from a different perspective.

Last Year When the Train Passed By, a short by Taiwanese director Pang-Chuan Huang, was declared the best film in the respective category.

"By photographing houses along a railway line and visiting their residents a year later, the author presents a sentimental journey into memory," the jury said.

The FIPRESCI award by a jury of the International Federation of Film Critics has been earned by Monos, a drama/thriller by Brazilian director Alejandro Landes.

"The film fantastically depicts a fall into madness and a terrifying insight into war horrors, combined with an exceptional cast and head-spinning, at moments surreal photography," the jury said.

The Dragon audience's choice award went to Every Day a Good Day by Japan's Tatsushi Ohmori, about a Japanese student who learns about the tea ceremony.

The award by the Slovenian Art Cinema Association went to Ema by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain. The film is "aesthetically complete and emotionally rich, many times aesthetically bold, theatrical and, after all, comprehensively convincing."

The youth jury award Kinotrip was conferred on Sorry We Missed You by English director Ken Loach, a "film which has shaken us with its social sensitivity and a strong socially-critical note, and touched us with its humanity."

Running from 13 November, the festival showcased almost 100 feature films and 25 shorts, bringing acclaimed and experimental productions to Ljubljana as well as Maribor, Celje and Novo Mesto.

© STA, 2019