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The Zookeeper's Wife

Has many lovely and moving moments but fails to capture the many layers of this unique story, relying instead on plainly-stated metaphors.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Film fest honors 'Silent Light' and 'Tuya's Marriage'

Silent Light” by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas won the Gold Hugo for best feature film at the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival, festival artistic director Michael Kutza announced Sunday.

The five-member jury -- which included Czech director Juri Menzel and German actor Udo Kier -- saluted “Silent Light” “for its mesmerizing power to make us hear silence in a world of sound.” Set in a Mennonite community in northern Mexico, the film features dialogue spoken in the German dialect of Plautdietsch.

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The jury bestowed a Silver Hugo Award for Direction upon Roy Anderson from Sweden for “You, the Living,” his follow-up to “Songs From the Second Floor” from 2000.

Set in Inner Mongolia, Wang Quanan’s “Tuya’s Marriage” won a Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize. In the title role, Yu Nan won a Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress.

Control,” Anton Corbijn’s feature from the United Kingdom, won two Silver Hugos as well. A Best Actor nod went to Sam Riley for playing the late Ian Curtis, lead singer in the band Joy Division. A Best Screenplay prize went to writer Matt Greenhalgh. “Control” will return for a theatrical run at the Music Box on Oct. 26.

The New Directors jury voted a Gold Hugo to the Italian drama “In Memory of Myself.” A Silver Hugo went to “Not by Chance” by Brazilian director Philippe Barcinski.

The documentary jury handed out a surprising six prizes for 10 features in competition. American-made work took five prizes. Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” (screening today at 4 p.m. at the AMC River East) received the Gold Hugo; Brett Morgen’s “Chicago 10” won the Silver Hugo. Darryl Roberts’ “America the Beautiful” got a Gold Plaque in Direction. A Gold Plaque in Photography was awarded to Jiska Rickels’ “4 Elements” from the Netherlands.

Silver Plaque Special Jury Prizes were given to “Operation Filmmaker” by Nina Davenport, and to “A Walk Into the Sea” by Esther Robinson.

Other juries made awards in five categories of short films.

The Audience Choice Award will be tallied after the festival ends on Wednesday. For schedule updates, call (312) 683-0121 or check www.chicagofilmfestival.com.

Bill Stamets is a Chicago free-lance writer and reviewer.

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