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SYDNEY (Reuters) - A quirky film about love by 21-year-old French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan was named the winner of the third annual Sydney Film Prize on Monday.
Dolan's movie "Heartbeats" is the second film by the former child actor, who has appeared in both his own movies.
It tells the story of a man and a woman infatuated with the same young man and was reported to have been a favorite with audiences at the 57th Sydney Film Festival, which screened 157 films from 47 countries.
"With a witty and insightful script and strikingly playful use of cinematic language, the jury found 'Heartbeats' to be a boldly truthful and compassionate observation of one of the great crippling foibles of human nature - the hopeless crush," Sydney Film Festival Jury President Jan Chapman said in a statement.
Dolan's first movie in 2009, "J'ai tue ma mere" ("I killed my mother"), which explored a mother/son bond, won three awards from the director's fortnight at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
"Heartbeats," which held it premiere at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival last month, was one of 12 official competition films at Sydney.
The festival's jury also gave honorable mentions to two films, including "How I Ended This Summer" directed by Russia's Alexei Popogrebsky, and an Australian teenage film "Wasted on the Young" by director Ben Lucas.
The jury deciding the winner of the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize was made up Chapman, an Australian producer, Hong Kong director Yonfan, Australian director Shirley Barrett, British director Lucy Walker and Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper.
The Sydney Film Festival's official competition is only in its third year and was set up to reward "courageous and audacious filmmaking."
On Sunday, the festival held the Australian premiere of Roman Polanski's political thriller "The Ghost Writer" with actor Ewan McGregor on the red carpet for the event.
The festival was to close on Monday with the Australian premiere of "The Kids Are All Right" starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Balazs Koranyi