LONDON — Russian helmer Andrea Zvyaginstev’s debut feature, “The Return,” has scooped the BBC Four World Cinema prize.

Zvyaginstev’s bleak examination of the relationship among an absent father and his two sons triumphed over Takeshi Kitano’s “Zatoichi,” Zhang Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers,” Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education,” Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Uzak.” All foreign-language films released in the past year in the U.K. were eligible for the award.

Zvyaginstev, who flew in to London especially to attend Thursday’s live-broadcast ceremony, could not hide his excitement.

“It is a great honor for me to find my name alongside directors whose work I hugely admire such as Zhang Yimou, Takeshi Kitano, Pedro Almodovar, and two other directors whose names I am not going to pronounce now as I am too nervous.”

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Award, in its second year, was created by BBC Four as part of an effort to position itself as the home of world cinema on Brit TV. A panel of industryites including Gillian Anderson and “Touching the Void” director Kevin MacDonald selected the pic from a shortlist that was determined by critics, film school toppers and exhibs.

Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers” took the audience award.