As a teacher and writer, I am excited to partake in the First Feature Competition, particularly as it contains so many interesting and diverse films of European texture and theme. Europe has diversified in recent years to allow for voices of every walk of life, whether it be elegies from people of colour to truths fulfilled by members of the LGBT+ community, and this wealth of narrative can only enrich the audiences as learners and viewers. As an Irishman and a proud European myself, I look forward to seeing the tapestry of work unravel.
The festival started in 1997 – purportedly as a platform for Nordic cinema – shaping into something grander, more interesting in the decades since. Now, it proudly stands as one of Europe’s (if not the world’s) most interesting festivals, and this edition (the 27th, to be precise) is set to be one of the more impressive. It collates a selection of diverse, idiosyncratic features that will culminate in an interesting whole. A film on its own is a flower, but a festival makes it a garden. And what a garden the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) is set to be, complete with a colourful exhibit all of its own.
Take for instance, Rozália Szeleczki Cat Call, a tragicomedy set in the mind of a lady in metamorphosis; or Kaveh Daneshmand’s Endless Summer Syndrome, a torrid tale of acceptance amongst great sorrow; or even Edgar de Luque Jácome’s The Fisherman’s Daughter, a scintilatingly produced LGBT+ drama set in the heart of the Caribbean sea. Each of these entries proves to be a contemplative and insightful foray into the world of cinema, whether it’s through the compendium of LGBT cinema, or by conjuring an entirely new type of storyline as can be seen in Cat Call. There is even a British film: Carolina Ingvarsson’s Unmoored). As a first time attendee, I find it fitting that I will be covering the First Feature Competition. In fact, this is more than journalism; this is poetry.
Body Odyssey (Grazia Tricarico) has also intrigued me, as has Petr Hátle’s Mr. and Mrs. Stodola, two stories that promise to circumnavigate the human spirit in a style that can only be described as euphoric. And then there’s the festival itself: the crowd of journalists swanning among a parade of artists coming together in the hope of experiencing new styles of cinema. Outside of the European continent, there are also films from New Zealand, Argentina, Sri Lanka, China, Colombia and more.
The films below are listed in alphabetical order:
1. All, Or Nothing At All (China, Jiajun ‘Oscar’ Zhang);
2. Body Odyssey (Italy/Switzerland, Grazia Tricarico);
3. Cat Call (Hungary, Rozália Szeleczki);
4. Dilli Dark (India, Dibakar Das Roy);
5.Endless Summer Syndrome (Czech Republic/France, Kaveh Daneshmand);
6. Falling Into Place (Germany, Aylin Tezel);
7. Giant’s Kettle (Finland, Markku Hakala/Mari Käki);
8. Inpaintings (Turkey, Ozan Yoleri);
9. Mo Mamma (Estonia, Eeva Mägi; pictured at the top of this article);
10. Mr. and Mrs. Stodola (Czech Republic/Slovakia, Petr Hátle);
11. Tentigo (Sri Lanka/India, Ilango Ram);
12. The Fisherman’s Daughter (Colombia/Puerto Rico/Brazil/Dominican Republic, Edgar de Luque Jácome);
13. The Moon is Upside Down (New Zealand, Loren Taylor);
14. The Quiet Maid (Spain, Miguel Faus);
15. Unmoored (UK, Carolina Ingvarsson); and
16. Vera And The Pleasure of Others (Argentina, Romina Tamburello/Federico Actis).