'The Lord Eagle' Takes Top Prize at Moscow Film Festival

The Lord Eagle Still - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of the Moscow International FIlm Festival

Alexander Kott was named best director for 'Spitak.'

Toyon Kyyl (The Lord Eagle) by Russian director Eduard Novikov was awarded the top film prize, the Golden St. George, at the awards ceremony for the 40th Moscow International Film Festival, which drew to a close Thursday in the Russian capital.

Set in the 1930s and focused on North Russian aboriginal people, the drama was made in the North Eastern region of Yakutia, which has emerged in recent years as the country's territory of independent filmmaking.

The special jury prize went to another local film, Nu, a 64-minute-long debut feature by Yang Ge, a Chinese singer and actress who studied in Moscow before winning the local version of TV talent contest The Voice. An apparently autobiographical story of her search for a man to sleep with — with its repeated refrain of "S'kem spat?" ("Who can I sleep with?") — became something of a catchphrase with younger, irreverent festivalgoers.

The Silver St. George for best director went to Alexander Kott for the Armenia-Russia co-production Spitak, which centered on a deadly 1988 earthquake.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno took home best actress honors for her role in Ferzan Ozpetek's Napoli Velata (Naples in Veils), while Kieran Charnock, the star of Stray by New Zealand's Dustin Feneley, picked up the best actor trophy.

This year, the festival was shifted to April from its regular June slot to avoid clashing with the 2018 FIFA World Cup soccer championship, which Russia will host this year.