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Haneke's 'Amour' takes four European Film Awards

"Amour," a drama about growing old together has been named best film at the European Film Awards. The film also earned Michael Haneke the award as best director.

The 70-year-old Austrian director's film, which explores the effects of dementia on an aging married couple had gone into the awards ceremony, held in Malta on Saturday evening, as the favorite.

The joint French-Austrian-German production also took two other prizes, with Jean-Louis Trintignant, 81, winning as best actor and Emmanuelle Riva, 85, taking the best actress award.

German director Christian Petzold's film "Barbara," which is set in communist East Germany, had been nominated in two categories, including best film - but he went home empty handed.

"Die Vermissten" ("Reported Missing"), a film by another German, Jan Speckenbach was nominated for the Discovery Award for young up-and-coming directors, but lost out to “Kauwboy,” by Dutch director Boudewijn Koole.

British actress Helen Mirren took the award for European Achievement in World Cinema, while Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Saturday evening's gala was the 25th edition of the European Film awards, which are held annually, with the venue alternating between Berlin and other European cities.

pfd/jr (dpa, DAPD)