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Tartu Love Film Festival's 2019 lineup includes Queen of Hearts, Stupid Young Heart, the world premiere of Long Live Rock and much more

Festivals 2019-08-08

Tartu Love Film Festival unveils full programme

The Tartu Love Film Festival aka TARTUFF will screen a programme of 11 features and 4 documentaries, mixing international festival circuit favourites from recent years alongside cinematic classics and setting a special focus on music.

The festival’s feature film selection is headed by the Sundance audience award winner Queen of Hearts, the sophomore work by Danish director May el-Toukhy who presents a provocative tale of a woman who puts her career and family under severe pressure when she starts an affair with her teenage stepson.

It is accompanied by another US festival audience award winner - To Dust - that received the honour after its world premiere at Tribecca last year. The story, by writer-director Shawn Snyder and co-writer Jason Begue, follows a heartbroken orthodox Jew who can’t fully come to terms with the loss of his wife, acquiring an unorthodox interest in the decomposition process of her body.

Another critical highlight of the programme is Berlinale’s Generation Crystal Bear winner Stupid Young Heart by Selma Vihunen, the Finnish story about an adolescent couple, where the girl gets accidentally pregnant and tries to accept her responsibilities, while Lenni, the young father-to-be is being lured by the local right-wingers to join their (self-) destructive cause. 

Music - the ultimate expression of love

‘Music is one of the most effective ways of expressing love,’ declared the festival’s Head of Programme, Dagmar Raudam, commenting on one of the notable themes pervading TARTUFF’s programme this year. The festival will hold the world premiere of Jonathan McHugh’s documentary Long Live Rock, a study of the passion for rock music and concerts, as seen through the eyes of the members of bands such as Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Korn, Rob Zombie and the film’s protagonists - the fans.

Swiss director Sophie Huber has chronicled the story of the most influential jazz record labels of all time in her documentary Blue Note Records - Beyond the Notes - that housed some of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century - Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and - Miles Davis - also a central figure in another film in the festival’s programme. Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle’s directorial debut Miles Ahead is character-study of the legend during his 5-year hiatus from performing any music due to depression and drug abuse.

A cinephile and reggae-lover, British director Peter Webber has documented the story of the collective formed by pioneering reggae performers in the eponymous Inna De Yard, Jamaica’s equivalent to the Buena Vista Social Club.

Following a screening at Sundance and screening currently in the US and UK, the festival has also selected Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, the story of songwriter-poet Leonard Cohen and his great love and muse Marianne Ihlen who both passed away in 2016, three months apart from each other.

The three classic titles to be screened also bare a strong relationship to music Velvet Goldmine (1998) centres on characters reminiscent of early 70’s glam rock, while Romeo + Juliet (1996) is a 90’s take on the biggest love story of them all, mixing Shakespeare’s original dialogue with a 90’s rock-infused soundtrack that won the Silver Bear for Leonardo Dicaprio and the Alfred Bauer prize for director Baz Luhrmann at Berlinale in 1997. The selection is rounded off by the animation milestone The Yellow Submarine (1968), inspired by the oeuvre of The Beatles.


The 14th edition of the Tartu Love Film Festival aka TARTUFF, organised by the team at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, runs from the 12th until the 17th of August. It is the biggest open-air film festival in the Baltics, that erects a public screen in the Town Hall Square of Tartu for a week, screening up to two films every evening, free of charge to an audience of nearly 2000 people each night. Additionally, the festival screens documentaries in the historic Athena theatre.

Feature films 
(displaying only films that are in English or screened with English subtitles)

Ditte & Louise, Denmark, 2018, director Niclas Bendixen
Euphoria, Sweden, UK, Germany, 2017, director Lisa Langseth
Miles Ahead, USA, 2015, director Don Cheadle
Queen of Hearts, Denmark, Sweden, 2019, director May el-Toukhy
Romeo + Juliet, USA, 1996, director Baz Luhrmann
Stupid Young Heart, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, 2018, director Selma Vilhunen
Swoon, Sweden, 2019, director Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
The Journey - A Story of Love, Switzerland, 2018, director Fanny Bräuning
To Dust, USA, 2018, director Shawn Snyder
Velvet Goldmine, USA, 1998, director Todd Haynes
When Mom is Away, Italy, 2019, director Alessandro Genovesi
Yellow Submarine, UK, USA, 1968, director George Dunning

(displaying only films that are in English or screened with English subtitles)

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, Switzerland, USA, UK, 2018, director Sophie Huber
Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica, France, 2019, director Peter Webber
Long Live Rock, USA, 2019, director Jonathan McHugh
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, USA, 2019, director Nick Broomfield


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