'Bucharest' wins in Mexico


MEXICO CITY -- The Romanian comedy "12:08 East of Bucharest" and the Mexican documentary "Born Without" took top honors at the fourth edition of the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival, one of Mexico's top movie showcases.

"Bucharest," the first work of director Corneliu Porumboiu, unfolds 16 years after Romania freed itself from Communist rule. Winner of the Golden Camera award at the 2006 Festival de Cannes, "Bucharest" grabbed best picture Saturday evening at the closing ceremony of the Mexico City film fest, known as the FICCO. Most of the winners were first-time directors.

Best documentary went to Mexico's "Without," which follows the life of a man born without arms who plays the harmonica to support his six children. Director Eva Norvind, born in Norway, died one year before the film was released.

"Turtle Family," the feature debut of Mexican director Ruben Imaz, picked up the Audience Award and the prize for best first work. The story centers on a day in the lives of an unemployed father, an uncle and two teens coping with various family issues on the anniversary of their mother's death.

Hungarian filmmaker Gyorgi Palfi and Portugal's Hugo Vieira da Silva split honors for best director for "Taxidermia" and "Body Rice," respectively.

Paz Encina, a first-time director from Paraguay, garnered best Latin American picture for drama "Hamaca Paraguaya" (Paraguayan Hammock). The FIPRESCI international federation of film critics jury selected "Ser Isla" for best Mexican feature and Argentina's "Copacabana" in the documentary category.

In all, 220 films unspooled during the 10-day film festival. Members of the FICCO's international jury included actress Geraldine Chaplin and producers Jim Stark and Mary Sweeney. Mexican exhibitor Cinemex sponsored the annual event.