Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Abortion film wins BBC Four award

Cristian Mungiu and Jonathan Ross
Director Cristian Mungiu collected the award at a London ceremony

Drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days has been named as this year's BBC Four World Cinema Award winner.

The film, directed by Romanian Cristian Mungiu, follows two female friends from his home country after one becomes pregnant and wants an illegal abortion.

It has already picked up several awards at international festivals.

The film saw off competition from Italian mafia movie Gomorrah, Persepolis, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and The Orphanage

The film, starring Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu, is set in Ceausescu's Romania during the 1980s but Mungiu has said that he "wanted to tell the story of these people and not the system".

'Quality symbol'

Mungiu, 40, collected the award from Jonathan Ross at a ceremony at the British Film Institute on London's Southbank.

Laura Vasiliu in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
The film stars Laura Vasiliu and Anamaria Marinca

"The BBC is, for me, a symbol of quality, professionalism, tradition and equilibrium," he said.

The shortlist was judged by actors John Hurt and Adrian Lester, along with film director Asif Kapadia and London Film Festival head Sandra Hebron.

Also honoured was renegade director Werner Herzog, whose works include Lessons of Darkness and Grizzly Man.

He collected the inaugural world cinema achievement award for his body of work.

He said he was happy to accept it "as long as being dead is not a prerequisite".

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