Room for ‘Marvin’ atop Moscow fest

MOSCOW — At a closing ceremony July 29, the 20th Moscow Jubilee fest jury awarded its grand prize to U.S. pic “Marvin’s Room,” with fest visitor Robert De Niro collecting the prize.

Final fest atmosphere was anti-climactic, with all fest awards presented in less than 30 minutes to less-than-enthusiastic audience applause. Lifetime achievement awards were handed out to Sophia Loren, De Niro and Russian helmer Andrei Konchalovsky, whose TV miniseries “Odyssey” was shown out of competition.

Fest competition program seemed weak by any standards, leaving little controversy over award nominees. German actor Til Schweiger won best actor for his role in “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” with Spanish actress Isabel Ordaz taking best actress for her performance in Javier Maqua’s “Chevrolet.”

Hungarian helmer Janos Szasz’s pic “The Whitman Boys” won best director’s prize, with a special award given to local director Alexander Sokurov for his film “Mother and Son,” acclaimed for its extension of the boundaries of cinema language.

The Fipresci prize went to “The Whitman Boys,” with the special ex-competition Andrei Tarkovsky Award doubling to “Mother and Son.”

Despite a promising celeb guest list, this year’s Jubilee fest was disappointing, with usual problems of red tape and constantly changing schedules. With a very weak competition program failing to draw interest, attention shifted to the sideline, noncommercial ex-USSR program.

The only lasting legacy of the fest may end up being some tougher anti-piracy measures, which were unveiled by government authorities during the festival.

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