After attracting a total of 208,900 spectators, the 61st BFI London Film Festival concluded with its traditional award ceremony over the weekend.
This year’s best film award was presented to Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless which tells the story of a couple whose 12-year-old son disappears in the midst of their bitter divorce. The festival jury helmed by Andrea Arnold had glowing praise for the film, describing it as “very poetic and beautiful (…) dark and told with a fierce passion.” Arnold went on to say that “although the film concentrated on the intimate story of one family in Russia, it felt like a universal tragedy, one that we recognized as one of the world’s great sadnesses. The filmmaker elevated the personal to a social and political statement.”
This is the second time Zvyagintsev has won the award – he originally claimed the honour for his film Leviathan in 2014. Loveless is also Zvyagintsev’s third entry in the Academy Awards’ foreign language film category, following Leviathan in 2015 and The Return in 2003.
The “best documentary” accolade went to Lucy Cohen’s The Kingdom of Us – a moving tale of a family struggling to overcome the tragic suicide of their father.
Elsewhere, Patrick Bresnan’s Rabbit Hunt won the prize for best short film.
The Sutherland Award given to “the maker of the most original and imaginative [first or second feature] film introduced at the National Film Theatre during the year” was presented to John Trengove for his film The Wound. Revolving around a solitary South African factory worker who travels to the mountains to initiate a group of young men into manhood, The Wound was described by the jury as a “dynamic and inimitable coming-of-age story that takes a heartbreaking look at masculinity and sexuality.”
This year’s BFI Fellowship was awarded to director Paul Greengrass, widely known for his Oscar-nominated film Captain Phillips and his work on the Bourne film series.
For a complete, comprehensive list of this year’s entries, visit the 61st BFI Film Festival’s website: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp