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Germany celebrates cinematic double success at Locarno

German cinema is celebrating two major awards at the International Film Festival in Locarno. A thoughtful postwar drama found success with the public, while it was a documentary about dementia that pleased the critics.

Lore won the public prize - awarded to the best-received film to be screened in the Swiss town of Locarno's Piazza Grande during the festival.

The film portrays the plight of a group of siblings after the end of the Second World War in Germany. It depicts 14-year old Lore and her four brothers and sisters crossing the country, by this time divided into sectors, after their Nazi parents are taken away by the Allies. Director Cate Shortland made the film as a German-Australian-British coproduction.

Meanwhile, German director David Sieveking won the admiration of critics for Vergiss Mein Nicht (Forget Me Not) a documentary about his mother, Gretel, suffering from dementia. In the film - winner of the Critics' Week award - Sieveking moves in with his parents for a week to help to take some of the burden of care from his father.

Cate Shortland directing Loreon location

Shortland made the film Lore as a three-nation collaboration

As the highlight of the festival, the French film La Fille de Nulle Parte (The Girl From Nowhere) took the Golden Leopard prize, the top prize in the international competition.

The movie features Jean-Claude Brisseau, who was also the director, as a retired teacher living in Paris who gives shelter to a young woman running away from her partner.

There was a special prize for US director Bob Byington, for the movie Somebody Up There Likes Me, while Ying Liang won the best director prize for the South Korean-Chinese collaboration When Night Falls.

Some 300 films were shown as part of the festival, which has its annual slot between the major film showcases of Cannes in May, and Venice in late August.

rc/jm (dpa, epd)