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'Leviathan' takes best foreign film at Palm Springs Film Fest

Russian film 'Leviathan' takes honors for Best Foreign Language Film at Palm Springs Film Fest #PSIFF

"Leviathan," a brooding Russian film about one family's struggle to hold on to its land in a corrupt, far-flung village, is the winner of the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

"At once timely and timeless," read the jury's statement, "this film manages to comment on contemporary issues in a way that is both artistically stunning and deeply humane."

The critically acclaimed film (read Kenneth Turan's review) is also Russia's submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Other PSIFF winners include Turkish actor Haluk Bilginer, who took home the Best Actor trophy for his role in the family drama "Winter Sleep," and Anne Dorval, of the Canadian film "Mommy," who got Best Actress for her gripping role in the tortured mother-son saga. 

The jury selected the Serbian film, "No One's Child," as recipient of the New Visions/New Voices award — which goes to a film without U.S. distribution. Director Vuk Rsumovic's gritty drama tells the story of a feral boy who is slowly assimilated into society.

The Cine Latino award was bestowed on "Flowers," a Basque film directed by Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, while the John Schlesinger Award, granted to a first-time documentary filmmaker, was given to "Walking Under Water," about a group of ocean nomads who inhabit the seas near Borneo.

"Corn Island," from the republic of Georgia, earned the HP Bridging the Borders Award for its simply told story of traditional agricultural life on a small island in the Inguri River, which divides the border between Georgia and Abkhazia.

The awards were announced at a luncheon at Spencer's Restaurant in Palm Springs on Saturday. Audience awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will be revealed Sunday.

The festival, known for its eclectic programming and its devotion to promoting challenging films from all over the world, opened with a screening of the Golden Globe-nominated "Selma," a historic drama about Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights fight. 

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