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Russian Film Wins Top Prize In Rome

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov's film "Izobrajaya Zhertvy" ("Playing the Victim ") has won the best film award at the first Rome Film Fest.

The awards that ended the nine-day event were presented Saturday night at a glittering awards ceremony that featured a contingent from New York's Tribeca Film festival, led by actor Robert DeNiro.

Accompanied by his wife, Grace Hightower, De Niro walked quickly down the red carpet, ignoring the cries of photographers and fans. He was greeted by Rome's mayor, Walter Veltroni, who gave the New York actor Italian citizenship and an Italian passport.

According to the film festival's Web site, DeNiro acknowledged the gift by saying, "The circle closes; my family's destiny is fulfilled, I can finally say I've come home. I'm happy for my children, who will be Italian like me."

Among the other award winners:

  • Actress Ariane Ascaride won the Best Actress Award for " Le Voyage En Armenie."
  • Director Shane Meadows won the Special Jury Award for "This Is England."
  • Director Giuseppe Tornatore won the Blockbuster Award for the Premiere Section for "La Sconosciuta."
  • Actor Giorgio Colangeli won the Best Actor Award for "L'Aria Salata."
  • Actor Ninetto Davoli won the L.A.R.A. Award for Best Italian Performer for "Uno Su Sue."

Rome's first major film festival in 60 years opened with a screening of "Fur," the Steven Shainberg-directed film that stars Nicole Kidman as photographer Diane Arbus.

During the nine days, 169 films, including 52 from the United States were screened at a half-dozen venues around the city. Officials said 56,000 tickets were sold.

Some believe the Roman festival will ultimately grow to challenge the Venice festival that recently concluded its 63rd edition.

Though the two festivals have downplayed their rivalry since a brief flurry of insults erupted before the start of the Venice event, the topic remains a hot one in the Italian media. The last time Rome hosted a major film festival was in 1946.

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