Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces lineup for Rebels with a Cause

Potential Victim by Nicolás Guzmán Potential Victim by Nicolás Guzmán

Entering its sophomore year, the competition programme Rebels with a Cause, showcasing films that experiment with form and rebel against conventional filmmaking tropes or political ideas.

The programme consists of 15 films, five of them shorts that have been selected by programmers of PÖFF Shorts, a sub-festival of Black Nights. This is the first time when the short films are in competition alongside feature-length films. The winner will be selected by a jury made up of members of the Estonian Film Critics Association.

Presented as its world premiere, the Swiss film Happiness is a Warm Gun by director Mirko Borscht, is a single-take tale of five youngsters who delve deep into themselves and their past traumas while trying to find a recipe for personal freedom in the present. Another world premiere comes from Chile, as director Nicolás Guzmán presents Potential Victim, a vampire tale shot without a script that is set in the age of internet, where a pop diva has a seductive influence on teenagers.

Five of the films have their international premieres at PÖFF. Spanish film This is the Wind, an experimental project headed by fifth-time director Pere Vilà Barceló, who worked with film school students to shoot the film as an educational project, while including roles by professional actors such as Alex Brendemühl and Anna Alarcón. The story studies two young girls who suffer from eating disorders.

Israeli director Ran Slavin presents Call for Dreams, a neo-noir mystery on contemporary topics such as urbanism, dreaming and virtual cosmopolitanism in the global age. Russian director Denis Shabaev’s documentary-like Mira follows its protagonist into the Donbass region in Ukraine with a mission to restore Lenin’s sculptures.

Hindu director Anamika Haksari’s Taking the Horse to eat Jalebis can be considered as an outrageous love letter to Delhi, exploiting cinema’s means of expression to the fullest. Armand Rovira from Spain dedicates his Letters to Paul Morrissey to the eponymous legend of avant garde cinema associated with Andy Warhol and The Factory.

Other feature-length films in the programme include Reflections in the Dust by director Luke Sullivan (Australia) that premiered at Karlovy Vary IFF, Trauma is a Time Machine by director Angelica Zollo (USA) and Hadi Mohaghegh’s Here (Iran).

The short film programme is headed by Romanian director Radu Jude (Aferim!, I don’t Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians) who presents the film The Marshal’s Two Executions, which explores two views on the execution of General Ion Antonescu, Romania’s leader during the Second World War. Other entries in the programme are Sami van Ingen’s Flame (Finland), Ultra Pulpe (Apocalypse After) by director Bertrand Mandio (France), A Place Called Reality by Kristoffer Borgli (Norway) and Water Bears by Yenni Lee (Norway).

“This should release us from the shackles,” commented the head of the festival Tiina Lokk.


Call for Dreams, Director Ran Slavin Israel-Japan - International Premiere
Happiness is a Warm Gun / Glück ist ein warmes Gewehr, Directors Mirko Borscht, Patricija Bronic, Johanna Dähler, Simon Labhart, Max Roenneberg ja Julian Anatol Schneider (Šveits) - World Premiere
Here / Iro, Director Hadi Mohaghegh, Iran
Letters to Paul Morrissey, Director Armand Rovira, Spain - International Premiere
Mira, Director Denis Shabaev, Russia - International Premiere
Reflections in the Dust, Director Luke Sullivan, Australia
Potential Victim / Víctima Potencial, Director Nicolás Guzmán, Chile - World Premiere
Taking the Horse to eat Jalebis / Ghode ko jalebi khilane le ja riya hoon, Director Anamika Haksar, India - International Premiere
This is the Wind / El vent és això, Directors Paula Comas, Joan Cumeras, Andrea López, Oriol Mulero, Mario Rebugent, Marina Segarra ja Pere Vilà Barceló, Spain - International Premiere
Trauma is a Time Machine, Director Angelica Zollo, USA


Flame / Polte, Director Sami van Ingen, Finland
The Marshal’s Two Executions / Cele două execuții ale Mareșalului, Director Radu Jude, Romania
Ultra Pulpe (Apocalypse After), Director Bertrand Mandico, France
Water Bears / Bjørnedyr, Director Yenni Lee, Norway
A Place We Call Reality, Director Kristoffer Borgli, Norway