Romania’s ‘Sieranevada’ wins top prize at Chicago film festival

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“Sieranevada” won two big awards at the Chicago International Film Festival on Friday night.

The festival’s International Feature jury, chaired by actress Geraldine Chaplin, voted the Gold Hugo for Best Film to this nearly three-hour-long ensemble drama from Romania. Director Cristi Puiu also accepted a Silver Hugo for Best Director. From his Bucharest studio he uploaded two lengthy videos, and his deadpan absurdist delivery was the highlight of the evening.

Other prizes included a Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize for the Iranian drama “The Salesman,” directed by Asghar Farhadi. Silver Hugo acting awards went to Rebecca Hall, starring in the American film “Christine” (scheduled to open at the Music Box on Nov. 18) and Adrian Titieni in “Graduation,” a Romanian drama.

Festival director Michael Kutza bestowed his Founder’s Award on the black-and-white Holocaust drama “Paradise” by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky.

Chicago Sun-Times movie columnist Richard Roeper hosted the ceremony at AMC River East 21. “Sieranevada,” Romania’s entry for best foreign language film at this year’s Oscars, screens there at 2:45 p.m. Monday.

Added screenings of this and other award winners will be posted at

Other winners from the International Feature Competition at Friday’s ceremony:

Silver Plaque Best Screenplay

Cristian Mungiu, “Graduation”

Silver Plaque Best Cinematography

Kacper Fertacz, “The Last Family”

Silver Plaque Best Art Direction

Jagna Janicka, “The Last Family”

In the New Directors Competition, the Gold Hugo winner is Finland’s Juho Kuosmanen for “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki,” a boxing tale shot in black and white. A Silver Hugo was presented to Jonas Rothlaender for “Fado,” and the Roger Ebert Award was claimed by Atilla Till for “Kills on Wheels.”

Among documentaries, the Gold Hugo recipient is “Samuel in the Clouds,” a climate change study by Pieter van Eecke.

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