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Russian films dominate Moscow

'Pete' wins Gold St. George award

MOSCOW — Russian films swept the board at the 31st Moscow Intl. Film Festival, which closed Sunday.

All four local pics in the 16-strong competition lineup came away with a prize. Only the helming kudo went abroad — to frosh director Mariana Chenillo from Mexico for “Five Days Without Nora.”

The top Gold St. George award for film went to Nikolai Dostal for “Pete on the Way to Heaven.” Alexander Proshkin took the special jury prize for “The Miracle.”

Karen Shakhnazarov’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short story “Ward Number Six” captured best actor for Vladimir Ilyin. Best actress went to tyke Lena Kostyuk for Kira Muratova’s “Melody for the Barrel-Organ,” which also took the Fipresci prize.

Jury president Pavel Lungin, whose film “The Tsar” opened the festival, said from the stage that “our Russian films were just better this year.”

The prize for the Perspectives sidebar went to Georgian director Vano Burduli for his debut feature “The Conflict Zone.”

The lifetime achievement award went to Georgian director Rezo Chkheidze. In a reference to the troubled relationship between Russia and Georgia, the 82-year-old director said: “I am optimistic about the future. Politics is not the business of filmmakers — but love is.”

The other honorary award, the Konstantin Stanislavsky prize, had been presented posthumously a week earlier at the opening ceremony to Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky, whose last role was in “The Tsar.”

Closing film was the first screening outside the U.S. of Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.”

Fest prexy Nikita Mikhalkov said that this showed the importance the film biz attached to the Russian market.

Mann paid tribute to the impact of Russian cinema around the world, and spoke of his own family roots in the country.

Main industry event at festival was the debut edition of the fest’s co-production market.

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