Euthanasia comedy wins Rome film festival top prize

Kill Me Please director Olias Barco (r) with stars Virgile Bramly (l) and Zazie de Paris Kill Me Please director Olias Barco (r) celebrated his win with stars Virgile Bramly (l) and Zazie de Paris

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A black comedy about euthanasia, originally named after the assisted suicide organisation Dignitas, has won top prize at the Rome film festival.

Belgium's Kill Me Please tells of an eccentric group of people wanting to die at a clinic run by a doctor intent on organising "the perfect suicide".

Organisers said both ticket sales and attendees were up on last year's event.

But the festival's opening night was disrupted by protesters demonstrating against government budget cuts.

The protests delayed a screening of Keira Knightley film Last Night by two hours and kept the actress and her co-star Eva Mendes off the traditional red carpet.

The same carpet was drenched earlier this week by heavy downpours that saw musician Bruce Springsteen and US actor Aaron Eckhart taking refuge indoors.

Springsteen attended the event to promote The Promise, a documentary about the making of his Darkness on the Edge of Town album.

Julianne Moore Julianne Moore was presented with her award on 2 November

Eckhart - best known for his role as Harvey "Two-Face" Dent in Batman sequel The Dark Knight - came to introduce Rabbit Hole, a US drama about grieving parents in which he appears with Nicole Kidman.

American actress Julianne Moore and Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese were among the other celebrity guests at the nine-day event.

The latter, currently making a film in London, travelled to the Italian capital to present a restored version of Federico Fellini classic La Dolce Vita.

Moore, meanwhile, was presented with the Marc'Aurelio acting award, the festival's highest accolade.

Other films recognised at Friday's award ceremony included In a Better World, a Danish film about two families dealing with violent events at home and abroad.

Susanne Bier's drama - Denmark's submission for the 2011 foreign film Oscar - received both the grand jury award and an audience prize.

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