Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival adds ten films to the previously announced eight that will compete in the Official Selection (formerly called the Main Competition) for the festival’s Grand Prix and one film that will be screened out of competition.
Ten of the films in the competition line-up will have their world, seven their international and one its European premiere. Eight films are from Europe, seven from Asia, two have been made in the US and one in South America.
Festival director and head of programme Tiina Lokk says, ‘What we have on our hands is quite a kaleidoscope of genres, ranging from drama to thriller and horror to comedy. It is likely to generate disputes on the quality and spark debate - and this is what I feel cinema should do - generating discussion, both about the art of film and the world in general.’
‘We are especially excited about the selection of countries and it is nice to have both, an Estonian and Finnish film in the competition for the first time since we were accredited by FIAPF to hold the international competition two years ago.’
Adding to the eight films that were announced on the XXX of September the selection will include the world premiere of The Ball by Italian director Pasquale Scimeca whose previous films have been screened at Venice, Toronto, Locarno and Busan. The Ball is his take on the refugee crisis, telling the tale of a brother and sister, forced to leave their home village in search of a better life, thus becoming a statistic in the phenomenon that defines our era.
Marc Recha, the renowned Spanish director who was nominated for the Palme d’Or with his film Pau and His Brother, presents the world premiere of La Vida Lliure, a visual poem to the island of Menorca, experienced through the eyes of two children sent there during the First World War.
Swiss director Christine Repond’s second feature film Vacuum is a psychological drama with a disturbing, yet a shockingly realistic premise: right before her 35th wedding anniversary, Meredith, happy with her life and marriage, discovers that she is HIV positive.
Boldly blending social satire and drama with mythology and sci fi, Ukrainian director Volodymyr Tykhyy dissects in his second feature film The Gateway the ruptures caused by the Chernobyl disaster and the radiation, socio-economical turmoil and legends it left behind.
Turkish director Pelin Esmer who has previously won awards at festivals such as Tribeca, Istanbul and Fribourg, studies the complex question of euthanasia through a lush visual style and a playful narrative involving a poetess and a young nurse, in her third feature film Something Useful.
Having been nominated for the Nika award with his first two films, Kyrgyzstani director Temirbek Birnazarov presents his third film Night Accident, a minimalist yet poetical tale of an old man regaining meaning in his life after hitting a mysterious young woman with his motorcycle one night.
While being a slasher horror film in form, Israeli genre film director Eitan Gafny comments on some disturbing tendencies in Israeli society with his third feature film Children of the Fall. A young American goes to discover her jewish roots and becomes a volunteer at a kibbutz, only to have a terrifying encounter with xenophobic locals.
A two-time nominee of the Hollywood Film Awards, Adam Christian Clark presents his third feature film Newly Single. Having written the script and acted the lead part, Clark has created a portrait of a broken hero of our time, a filmmaker in his 30’s facing a professional crisis and experiencing the destructiveness of trying to comply with the norms of contemporary masculinity.
Having formerly worked for years as the DOP on projects such as Monster (2003), director Steven Bernstein presents his second feature Dominion, a vivid portrait of a true rockstar of poetry, the welshman Dylan Thomas, whose problem with alcohol was as notorious as his talent. Thomas is brilliantly portrayed by Rhys Ifans, while John Malkovich offers strong support in the role of Thomas’ physician.
Offering a shrewd portrait into the effects of poverty on consumer culture in Colombia, director Carlos Osuna studies in The Contestant the devastating effects of consumer campaigns on financially insecure groups in society. We follow Christobal, an aimless young man, as he spends the day in a queue alongside thousands of others waiting for the free pressure cookers that a company has promised.
Screening out of competition is the Korean historical drama Anarchist from the Colony, by Lee Joon-ik, the veteran director whose film The Throne won the Grand Prix at the festival two years ago. The film, set in 1923 in Tokyo, is a biopic of the Korean anarchist and political activist Park Yeol and his lover Kaneko Fumiko who stand trial after the anti-Korean crackdown by the Japanese empire that was organised in the wake of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands.
Films that were announced on 20 September:
The Manslayer / The Virgin / The ShadowThe Estonian auteur Sulev Keedus returns with a three-part tale of love and the shift of women’s societal positions across three different time periods and contexts of Estonia’s history: 19th century farm life, the working class of the postwar Stalinist era and the present day.
The Eternal RoadFinnish-Estonian-Swedish co-produced film by AJ Annila is set during the Great Depression years of the 1930’s and based on a true story, this adaptation of Antti Tuuri’s novel of the same name follows a Finnish emigrant who unwillingly enters the Soviet Union and is forced to join a Finnish-American colony of settlers who have followed Stalin’s call to come and build up the socialist state.
ExcavatorThe second film by director Lee Ju-Hyoung, written and produced by Kim Ki-duk opens a painful chapter in Korean history studying the post-traumatic stress of soldiers involved in the Gwangju student uprising in 1980. One of the low-ranking soldiers seeks out his former comrades and supervisors to try and make peace with the painful memories.
Little TitoThe second feature film of director Paola Randi is a playful and heartfelt study of an introverted astronomer forced to raise the son and daughter of his deceased brother, while trying to prove that it is possible to contact with deceased loved ones through space.
AsphyxiaPresenting a rare case in the blooming Iranian cinema, this ‘love noir’ by veteran director Fereydoun Jeyrani tells a story of a mental hospital nurse who is drawn into a potential murder plan. She is forced to choose sides between a wealthy woman pretending madness and her husband who she claims is planning to murder her for the inheritance.
A Thought of EcstasyInspired by the writings of Georges Bataille and Jean Baudrillard, this art house title is a haunting study of a man’s journey to find a lost love in the US in the year 2019. Director RP Kahl obscures the viewer with a chronologically broken timeline and blends memories, sexual desires and fears with a distorted sense of ‘reality’ to present a story of a person psychologically succumbing to illusions and self destruction.
Bangzi MelodyDepicting the tumultuous years of post-Mao China with witty allegory, Zheng Dasheng’s latest feature is set in Northern China in 1982, right after the Cultural Revolution has ended and brought about the mass privatisation of land in China.
GrannyAfter her granddaughter gets raped by a local politician’s son, Granny sets out on a dark odyssey of retribution, coming across corrupt law enforcement and public servants in the process. For his second feature film director-scriptwriter Devashish Makhija has created a haunting and claustrophobic depiction of India’s systemic social injustice with memorable visual imagery.
Official Selection - In Competition
Asphyxia (Khafegi), dir Fereydoun Jeyrani, Iran, 2017 - International premiereA Thought of Ecstasy (A Thought of Ecstasy) - dir RP Kahl, Germany-USA-Switzerland, 2017 - International premiereBangzi Melody (Cun xi), dir Dasheng Zheng, China, 2017 - International premiereChildren of the Fall (Yaldey HaStav), dir Eitan Gafny, Israel, 2016 - World premiereDominion (Dominion), dir Steven Bernstein, USA, 2016 - World premiereExcavator (Poclain), dir Lee Ju-Hyoung, South Korea, 2017 - International premiereGranny (Ajji), dir Devashish Makhija, India, 2017 - European premiereLa Vida Lliure (La Vida Lliure), dir Marc Recha, Spain - France, 2017 - World premiereLittle Tito (Tito il Piccolo), dir Paola Randi, Italy, 2017 - International premiereNewly Single (Newly Single), dir Adam Christian Clark, USA, 2017 - World premiereNight Accident (Tunku kyrsyk), dir Temirbek Birnazarov, Kyrgyzstan, 2017 - World premiereSomething Useful (Ise Yarar Bir Sey), dir Pelin Esmer, Turkey-France-Netherlands-Germany - International premiereThe Ball (Balon), dir Pasquale Scimeca, Italy, 2017 - World premiereThe Contestant (El Concursante), dir Carlos Osuna, Colombia, 2017 - World premiereThe Gateway (Brama), dir Volodymyr Tykhyy, Ukraine, 2017 - World premiereThe Eternal Road (Ikitie), dir Antti-Jussi Annila, Finland-Estonia-Sweden, 2017 - International premiereThe Manslayer/ The Virgin/ The Shadow (Mehetapja. Süütu. Vari), dir Sulev Keedus, Estonia, 2017 - World premiereVacuum (Vakuum), dir Christine Repond, Switzerland, 2017 - World premiere
Out of Competition
Anarchist from the Colony (Park Yeol), dir Lee Joon-ik , South Korea, 2017 - Estonian premiere
The tickets for the first screenings of all the films will go on sale on the 17th October. The premieres of the Official Selection will be screened between the 23rd of November and the 1st of December.
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival will take place between the17th of November and the 3rd of December.