"Kill Me Please," a politically incorrect Belgian black comedy about euthanasia, won the top prize at the Rome film festival on Friday.
The film, by director Olias Barco, follows an eccentric group of people wanting to die at a clinic run by a doctor whose mission is to organize the "perfect suicide," tailored to each of his clients' needs and motivations.
Things begin to fall apart at the clinic when its inmates start bickering and local residents launch a full-scale armed assault. It ends in mayhem.
Filmed in black-and-white, "Kill Me Please" had audiences at the festival laughing out loud despite dealing with what is generally considered a sensitive, almost taboo topic.
Danish art-house director Susanne Bier's "In a Better World," about how two ordinary Danish families confronted with violence and revenge in a small coastal town, won the grand jury prize and the audience award.
The awards ceremony drew the curtain on the festival's fifth edition.
Organizers of the Rome movie showcase, which is striving to carve a distinct identity for itself in the long shadow of its more famous cousin in Venice, said 118,000 tickets were sold this year, up from 2009, and the number of accredited participants also had risen.
But the festival, which mixes members of the public and schoolchildren with professionals, was somewhat marred by protesters demonstrating against government budget cuts to cultural events on the opening night and again Thursday.
A few glitches also blotted this edition.
Barco, the director of the winning film, did not arrive in Rome in time for his own movie's press conference, while the screening of "Carlos," on the Venezuelan-born revolutionary, had to be postponed twice because of technical problems.