Romanian film takes Stockholm’s top prize

The 18th Stockholm International Film Festival, which wraps up Sunday, handed its top Bronze Horse award for best film to "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days".

Set in director Christian Mungiu’s native Romania, the film, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes earlier this year, is a devastating tale of back-alley abortion and daily despair during the country’s communist era.

The film “expresses the impact of societal repression on its characters with honesty and devastating humanity,” the jury said in a statement issued late Saturday.

One of the film’s stars, Anamaria Marinca, who plays a young woman named Otilia who helps a friend undergo an illegal abortion, won the festival’s Best Actress award.

“We forget we are watching a ‘performance’ and instead experience, moment by devastating moment, the brutal events of this day in the life of Otilia,” the jury said.

The prize for best actor meanwhile went to Jason Patric for his portrayal of a flawed and unsympathetic character traffic officer in Cecilia Miniucchi’s “Expired”.

The festival also awarded its Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award 2007 to Paul Schrader, who wrote the scripts for classic films like Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and Brian DePalma’s “Obsession”, and has directed a long line of films of his own, from his debut “Blue Collar” to “The Comfort of Strangers” and “American Gigolo”.

“With the linguistic brilliance of a screenwriter and a director’s eye for visuals, Paul Schrader has helped advance the cinematic medium for over three decades,” the jury said.

American writer, producer and director Wes Anderson, whose films include “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”, meanwhile received the Stockholm Visionary Award 2007 “for his humane and humoristic portraits of solitary human beings,” the jury said.