Berlin awards Panorama, Teddy prizes

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BERLIN -- "Revanche," a crime drama set in rural Austria by director Gotz Spielmann has won the best European film award at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.

The prize, presented by the Europa Cinemas Label, a network of some 1,700 art-house cinemas across Europe, honors a film screening in the Berlinale's Panorama sidebar section.

A tale of guilt and revenge, Spielmann's film follows the story of Axel, a low-ranking criminal who falls in love with one of the girls in his bosses' brothel. It stars Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko and Andreas Lust. Germany's The Match Factory is handling international sales on the picture.

"This is a very well made and dramatic film that we believe has the potential to grip audiences around Europe," the Europa Cinemas jury said in a statement.

"The story is absorbing, the characters well drawn and the performances uniformly strong. This is true European cinema at its best -- an authentic and uncompromised view of a corner of Europe."

The Berlinale's Teddy Award for best film with a gay theme was awarded in Berlin Thursday night to Olaf de Fleur's "The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela."

The Icelandic film is set in the Philippines and tells of a transsexual prostitute who dreams of marrying a white, Western man. The Teddy jury prize went to "Be Like Others," from Tanaz Eshaghian, a look at the oppression of homosexuals in Iran.

The best documentary Teddy went to "Football Under Cover," from David Assmann and Ayat Najafi. Their crowd-pleasing film follows a soccer match, in Iran, between the Iranian national woman's team and a team of young woman from the Kreuzberg district of Berlin.
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