Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

French film receives London award

Anjelica Huston with Tahar Rahim, star of A Prophet
Actor Tahar Rahim accepted the Star of London prize for A Prophet

French prison drama A Prophet has won the first best film award to be handed out by the London Film Festival.

The Star of London prize was presented to lead actor Tahar Rahim by actress Anjelica Huston, chair of the jury.

The panel, which included singer Jarvis Cocker, also gave a special mention to The Road, John Hillcoat's film version of Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic novel.

Actor John Hurt was made a fellow of the British Film Institute (BFI) at the awards, held at London's Inner Temple.

Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cisse also received the BFI's highest accolade, presented to him by actress and jury member Charlotte Rampling.

'Instant classic'

A Prophet, directed by Jacques Audiard, was one of nine titles shortlisted for the inaugural Star of London prize.

The hard-hitting drama, which tells of a young convict's experiences in a crime-ridden prison, received the Grand Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Jarvis Cocker
Cocker's voice was heard in London's opening night film, Fantastic Mr Fox

Huston said the film was "a masterpiece" that had "the ambition, purity of vision and clarity of purpose to make it an instant classic".

The awards ceremony also saw screenwriter Jack Thorne receive the best British newcomer prize for coming-of-age drama The Scouting Book for Boys.

Guests at the event included actors Hugh Bonneville and David Morrissey, directors Ken Russell and Sir Ridley Scott and the artist Sam Taylor-Wood.

The 53rd London Film Festival comes to a close on Thursday with Nowhere Boy, Taylor-Wood's drama about the early life of former Beatle John Lennon.

The movie, which stars newcomer Aaron Johnson as Lennon, is scheduled to open in the UK on Boxing Day.

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