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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006, 12:37 GMT
Stasi film in European awards win
Actor Ulrich Muehe, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and producer Qvirin Berg
The Lives of Others revolves around a secret police officer

A film about a secret policeman in the former East Germany has taken top prize at the European Film Awards in Warsaw.

The Lives of Others - or Das Leben Der Anderen - beat Spanish production Volver by Pedro Almodovar, although this still came top in five categories.

These included best director for Almodovar, top actress for Penelope Cruz plus the people's choice award.

Oscar-winning film-maker Roman Polanski also returned to his Polish homeland to collect a lifetime achievement award.

'Changed my life'

The Lives of Others is a drama about how East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, destroyed the lives of ordinary people.

Ulrich Muehe won the best actor trophy for his portrayal of a policeman who becomes engrossed in a playwright and his girlfriend, both of whom he is spying on.

Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz
Volver won five awards, with Cruz (right) thanking Almodovar (left)
Director Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, who also won the best screenplay, told the audience it meant a lot to win the award in Poland, "since my father was born in this country".

Polanski was equally gracious about his accolade, saying that it was a "moving" occasion because "only good things" happened to him in Warsaw.

"When I was working in a theatre as a child in Krakow after the war, we came here once, and I won an award at a festival," he said.

Cruz dedicated her best actress prize - for her role as a mother who covers up the murder of her husband - to Almodovar.

"Thank you so much for giving me the chance to play this part," she said. "You have changed my career and my life."

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04 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Almodovar picks up critics' prize
22 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Almodovar inspired me, says Cruz
01 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Volver 'centrepiece' of NY event
15 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Seven awards to German Stasi film
13 May 06 |  Entertainment
Cache is named Europe's best film
04 Dec 05 |  Entertainment


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