Loveless takes top prize at London Film Festival
Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless has been awarded best film at the star-studded BFI London Film Festival.
It is the second time the director has claimed the top prize at the festival, after previously receiving the award in 2014 for Leviathan – which went on to win the Golden Globe for best foreign language film.
The film, about a divorcing Russian couple whose son disappears, was described as a “poetic and beautiful film” by the festival jury, led by British director Andrea Arnold.
The panel added: “Although the film concentrated on the intimate story of one family in Russia, it felt like a universal tragedy; one that we recognised as one of the world’s great sadnesses.
“The film-maker elevated the personal to a social and political statement. A critique of our current psychological and political moment. Some of us felt the film a cautionary tale, an angry warning. And some of us saw it as a rallying call for the opposite of what the film is called.”
They also singled out Wajib, a film about a father and son delivering wedding invitations to their relatives in Nazareth, for being a “very honest, tender and beautifully acted story”.
The prizes were awarded during a ceremony hosted by James Nesbitt at London’s Banqueting House, with guests including Arnold, Hayley Atwell, Eric Bana, Jessie Buckley, Lily Cole, Jason Isaacs, Adrian Lester and Andrea Riseborough.
The BFI Fellowship award went to Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass.
The other festival winners were Lucy Cohen’s The Kingdom Of Us (best documentary), and Patrick Bresnan’s Rabbit Hunt (best short film).
The 12-day festival closes on Sunday with Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which star Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson.
Russia has picked Loveless to be its entry as the best foreign language film at the Oscars.