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Andrei Konchalovsky’s Holocaust-themed film Paradise on Friday won top honors at Russia’s annual Golden Eagle Awards, taking home the prize for best film.
The drama — which had been in the running for best foreign-language film Oscar until earlier this week, when it failed to make the final five shortlist — also earned best director honors for Konchalovsky and best female lead honors for his actress wife, Yuliya Vysotskaya.
The awards coincided with Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland by Soviet forces during World War II.
Konchalovsky, speaking at the awards ceremony at Moscow’s Mosfilm Studios, said he hoped that his film would “contribute to never forgetting” the Holocaust.
The story of a Nazi SS officer (played by German actor Christian Clauss) who has a brief pre-war romance with a Russian noblewoman he later meets when she is an inmate in a concentration camp, Paradise won a Silver Lion for best direction at the Venice Film Festival in September.
Earlier this week, Konchalovsky, whose English-language movies include Tango & Cash and The Nutcracker in 3D, criticized Hollywood, saying in an interview that it “offered nothing” to Russian directors.
Best male lead honors at the Golden Eagle Awards went to Ivan Yankovsky for his role in Pavel Lungin’s Queen of Spades, an adaptation of a short story by Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin.
The Golden Eagles, established in 2002 by Oscar-winning Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, is one of two rival Russian annual film ceremonies that are closely modeled after the Academy Awards. The NIKA awards — founded in 1989 -— are handed out in April.
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