Mexican drama bags top prize at Beijing International Film Festival

Mexico City - The Mexican film Beginning Of Time (El comienzo del tiempo) has clinched the coveted best picture award at the 5th Beijing International Film Festival, Xinhua reported.

The 2014 drama, written and directed by 34-year-old Bernardo Arellano, tells the tale of an elderly couple thrown into a life of crime after their pensions are cancelled by the cash-strapped government.

The film beat 14 other international entries at the festival, which ended Thursday, to bag the Tiantan award. This included two films from China, two from Russia, and one each from the United States, Colombia, India, Austria, Iran, Italy, Japan, Britain, South Korea and the Czech Republic.

Iconic French director and jury chairman Luc Besson presented a delighted Arellano with the award.

Arellano was quoted as saying: "I spent a lot of time doing my cast. I think that was the key because I looked for the human beings... I love to look inside life, inside their spirit, inside their soul. I looked for special characters who represent the words I want to express in cinematographic language."

His 2011 film, Between Night And Day (Entre la noche y el dia), was also warmly received by critics. Variety magazine had described it as an "engrossing feature debut".