'About Love' Nabs Top Honors at Russia's Golden Eagles Ceremony

PRO Lyubov About Love Still - H 2016
Courtesy of Magnum

PRO Lyubov About Love Still - H 2016

Stanislav Govorukhin picked up the best director’s award for 'The End of a Beautiful Epoch.'

Anna Melikyan's Pro Lyubov (About Love), a collection of romantic urban tales, was named 2015’s best Russian movie at the Golden Eagles ceremony, held Friday at Moscow’s film studio Mosfilm.

Stanislav Govorukhin collected the best director’s award for Konets Prekrasnoy Epokhi (The End of a Beautiful Epoch), set in the 1960s and based on a novella by renowned Russian 20th century author Sergei Dovlatov.

Alexander Mindadze took home best screenplay honors for Mily Khans, dorogoi Pyotr (Lovely Hans, Dear Peter).

Alejandro G. Inarritu's Birdman was named the year's best foreign film. It was nominated alongside James Marsh's The Theory of Everything and Ridley Scott's The Martian.

Yulia Peresild, the female lead of Bitva za Sevastopol (Battle for Sevastopol), was tapped as best actress, and Fyodor Bondarchuk was named best actor for his role in Prizrak (Ghost).

Veteran director Nikita Mikhalkov, who won an Oscar in the best foreign-language film category for Burnt by the Sun in 1995, received a lifetime achievement award.

The Golden Eagles were founded by Mikhalkov in 2002 as a rival to the older national honors, the Nikas. The awards courted controversy this week by attempting to establish a new prize named after late Soviet filmmaker Eldar Ryazanov, who died in November aged 88.

Ryazanov, considered one of the most popular directors of his generation, was a staunch supporter of the Nikas.

In Russia's closely-knit film community — where there are two distinct groups that broadly fall into pro and anti-Mikhalkov camps, rival film unions and rival awards — the move, announced by leading film critic and Golden Eagles board chairman Kirill Razlogov, was seen as a boorish and insensitive attempt to capitalize on Ryazanov's legacy.

The idea was dropped after complaints from filmmakers and critics, who suggested that if any event had the right to create such a prize, it was the Nikas, not the Golden Eagles.