LONDON (AP) — Brad Pitt was bringing the London Film Festival to a storming conclusion Sunday with "Fury," David Ayer's mud- and blood-splattered tale of a tank crew in the closing days of World War II.
The film offers a brutal depiction of combat, but Pitt says filming it has made him a better father to his six children with Angelina Jolie.
"This role is a real study in leadership and learning to command respect and because of this, I am now a better father," said Pitt, who plays a hard-bitten sergeant in command of a Sherman tank crew played by Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal.
"This film is about the soldiers' exhaustion from the cold, hunger and the accumulative effect on a daily basis," Pitt told reporters before the movie's black-tie European premiere. "We took that to heart. I hope ... soldiers will walk away from this and feel they are recognized."
"Fury" is an appropriately unflinching finale for a festival that awarded prizes to films that tackled corruption, gang violence, honor killing and war.
Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Leviathan," a tragic satire of small-town Russian corruption, was named the festival's best picture. Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy won the first-feature award for "The Tribe," a teen-gang drama set at a school for the deaf and performed entirely in sign language, without subtitles.
Actress Sameena Jabeen Ahmed was named best British newcomer for her performance as a British-Pakistani teenager on the run from her family in "Catch Me Daddy."
The documentary prize went to "Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait," a searing look at the country's civil war by Paris-based director Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan, a schoolteacher who filmed life in the besieged city of Homs.
Director Stephen Frears was awarded the British Film Institute's Fellowship, in recognition of a career that has traveled from the battered streets of Margaret Thatcher's Britain in "My Beautiful Laundrette," to 18th-century France in "Dangerous Liaisons," seedy Los Angeles in "The Grifters" and Buckingham Palace in "The Queen."
The 73-year-old director said that he'd become a filmmaker by accident, and quoted playwright Joe Orton, subject of his 1987 film "Prick Up Your Ears."
"I've got away with it so far," he said, "and I'm going to go on."
Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless