Russian film scoops honours at Warsaw

Article published on Oct. 20, 2008
community published
Article published on Oct. 20, 2008
Yuri's Day – the fourth film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov – scooped the Grand Prize at the 24th Warsaw Film Festival on Saturday, October 18. Renowned primarily for his theatre work, the director attracted attention with his film Playing the Victim, which won an award at the 2006 Rome Film Festival.

Yuri's Day centres on Luba, a beautiful opera diva (Xenia Rappoport) who has left Russia to pursue a career abroad. After many years away from home, she decides to visit her family in her native town of Juryev. As always, she takes her son, with whom she has a difficult relationship because he wants more of her time and attention.

In Juryev, neither their nostalgia nor their dreams are awakened. The situation grows complicated when Luba’s son disappears. Serebrennikov describes the film as "the story of a strong woman who at an unexpected moment tries to destroy her wall of selfishness. This is the story of a woman who is reborn as a mother, but it is also the story of Russia who loses her identity then finds it again".

In the official competition, the Association of Polish Filmmakers also awarded a special prize to Stefan Komandarev’s ''The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner'' (co-produced by Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary).

In the 1-2 competition, the Grand Prize went to Omar Shargawi’s Danish film Go With Peace Jamil [trailer, film focus] and the Special Jury Prize to Pourya Azarbayjani’s Iranian title Unfinished Stories.

Other prize-winning features include Uros Stojanovic’s Serbian/French co-production Tears for Sale, which won the Free Spirit Award; and Hungarian director Attila Gigor’s The Investigator [making of], which received the Fipresci Prize.

The award for Best Documentary went to Heavy Metal in Baghdad (Canada/USA) by Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi, while the shorts competition honoured Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson’s 2 Birds.

Dorota Hartwich