Jacques Audiard’s Cannes competition film Rust And Bone took the top prize at the 56th BFI London Film Festival this evening. This makes it two in a row for Audiard whose A Prophet was also named best film at the festival in 2009. Marion Cotillard stars as a whale trainer who suffers a horrible accident. Bullhead breakout Matthias Schoenaerts plays the man who helps her through. The London jury also praised Michel Franco’s Spanish-language After Lucia, a movie about a young girl starting over in a new town which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes earlier this year and Pablo Larrain’s No, a study of how controversial advertising techniques contributed to the end of Chile’s General Pinochet. Gael Garcia Bernal stars in that film which left Cannes in May with the top Directors’ Fortnight prize. Sony Pictures Classics acquired both Rust And Bone and No earlier this year. No is Chile’s foreign-language Oscar submission and After Lucia is Mexico’s entry. The Sutherland award, which goes to the director of the most “original and imaginative” feature debut in the festival was awarded to Benh Zeitlin for Sundance smash Beasts Of The Southern Wild. The Sutherland jury also noted its admiration of Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Thesus and Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda, the first film made by a Saudi Arabian woman. The Grierson Award for best documentary went to Alex Gibney for his Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God, a damning look at the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic Church. The Best British Newcomer award was given to Sally El Hosaini, the director and screenwriter of My Brother The Devil about a pair of British Arab siblings in London. As previously announced, BFI Fellowships went to Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter.

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