The Italian Almanac

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Kirill Serebrennikov

Italian News - October 23

A modern-day Russian film, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, won top prize at Rome’s first international film festival as the nine-day marathon wrapped up on Saturday. “Playing the Victim” by Kirill Serebrennikov, a critically acclaimed theatre director in his native Russia, was named best film among the 16 movies in competition. They were mostly art-house titles by new directors.Serebrennikov’s film is a family drama centred on a young student who uncovers the mystery surrounding his father’s death.

The jury also gave a special prize to “This is England”, British director Shane Meadows’ story of a 12-year-old boy befriending a group of skinheads in the early 1980s. In different ways, both films explore the confusion and disillusionment of younger generations. They were chosen by a 50-member jury made up of ordinary film-goers and supervised by Italian director Ettore Scola.

Serebrennikov said his film — adapted from a play by the Presnyakov brothers — was a film “for Russia and for Russians”. “We still believe that cinema can change people’s way of thinking and their consciences. I think my film is an artistic portrayal of what is passing through the minds of people in Russia today: terror, hope, insecurity.”