London Film Festival: Greek Comedy 'Chevalier' Takes Top Honor

Chevalier Still – H 2015
Courtesy of Festival del Film Locarno

Chevalier Still – H 2015

The evening also saw Cate Blanchett honored with the BFI Fellowship award.

Greek comedy Chevalier won the biggest honor at the BFI London Film Festival.

At a star-studded ceremony on Saturday night, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s biting tale of male rivalry on the Aegean Sea won the best film award, presented by jury president Pawel Pawlikowski, whose Ida won in 2013 and went on to take the Oscar for best foreign-language film this year. Last year Leviathan took home the award.

"Chevalier is a study of male antagonism seen though the eyes of a brave and original filmmaker," said Pawlikowski.

"With great formal rigor and irresistible wit, Athina Rachel Tsangari has managed to make a film that is both a hilarious comedy and a deeply disturbing statement on the condition of western humanity."

The awards ceremony also saw Cate Blanchett given the BFI’s highest honor, the BFI Fellowship, by her Lord of the Rings co-star Ian McKellen. Truth, Blanchett’s second film of the festival alongside Carol, had a special presentation earlier in the evening.

Elsewhere on the night, Robert Eggers horror, The Witch, won the Sutherland award for most original and imaginative first-time feature, while Tanna, by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean was commended.

Sutherland award jury president Desiree Akhavan described The Witch as a "horror film that felt as though it were reinventing the genre with each frame and truly shocking moments that evoke both terror and empathy."

Jennifer Peedom’s Sherpa, capturing the lives of the community forever associated with Mount Everest and picked up by Discovery earlier in the year, won the Grierson award for the best documentary.

Among the attendees of the night were Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joe Wright, Kathleen Kennedy, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Martin Freeman, Topher Grace and Stephen Woolley. The event was hosted by Pulp frontman and broadcaster Jarvis Cocker.

The London Film Festival closes on Sunday with the European premiere of Steve Jobs.