Iran’s Mohsen Amiryousefi walks away with the Golden Alexander for ‘Bitter Dream’

Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Amiryousefi’s moving, comic and wonderfully crafted «Bitter Dream» was awarded the Golden Alexander and a 37,000-euro purse by the 45th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which drew to a close with a gala ceremony at the Olympion Cinema last night. It was followed by a screening of Zhang Yimou’s latest film, «The House of Flying Daggers.» The Silver Alexander, carrying a 22,000-euro cash prize, was awarded ex aequo to «The Harvest Time» – a beautiful and moving tribute to the farmers of the former Soviet Union which also received the Artistic Achievement Award – by Russia’s Marina Razbezhkina and to «One or the Other,» a focus on the 2001 riots in Argentina sparked by the country’s financial demise, by Argentina’s Alejo Taube. Fernando Eimbcke from Mexico was named Best Director for his humorous and perceptive «Duck Season» by the six-member International Jury, which was composed of Hungarian film director Miklos Jancso (president), Canadian actress Arsinee Khanjian, American film director Alexander Payne, American film critic Kent Jones, Italian painter Valerio Adami, British-Italian producer Donald Ramvaud and Greek film critic Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos. The Best Screenplay Award went to Gonzalo Delgado Galiana, Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll for the Uruguayan entry «Whisky,» which also won Mirella Pascual the title of Best Actress, while the Best Actor prize went to Simon Abkarian for his role in the Israeli/French drama «To Take a Wife,» directed by the brother-and-sister team of Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz. The FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) jury picked «The Green Hat» by China’s Liu Fendou from the International Competition as the film they liked best, while from the Greek Films 2004 section, «Delivery» by Nikos Panayiotopoulos won the award. The public, which voted by ballot in a competition sponsored by Jameson’s Whisky, selected «Bitter Dream» and the Greek entry «Don’t Go» by Alexandros Pandazoulis for a 3,000-euro prize each, while the Greek Film Critics Association awarded its prize ex aequo to «CCTV» by Vassilis Katsikas and «Real Life» by Panos Koutras and the Greek Union of Film and Television Audiovisual Technicians gave its prize to Pantelis Voulgaris for «Brides.» The Greek competition ends tonight with the state awards ceremony.