TOne of the most diverse, exciting and accessible film festivals in the world celebrates its 25th birthday this year. The PÖFF Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival takes places between November 3rd and 19th in the Estonian capital.
The breadth and the depth of the event remain as impressive as ever, and particularly remarkable for a nation of just 1.3 million inhabitants. Northern Europe’s only A-list Fiapf-accredited film festival includes a Official Selection Competition, a First Feature Competition (its line-up was announced earlier this week), Critics’ Picks, PÖFF Shorts (which is also competitive), a Baltic Film Competition, a Youth and Children’s Festival, KinoFF (a side event for Russian-speaking audiences), Rebels With a Cause (a strand devoted to experimental and audacious filmmakers), a glitzy opening and closing ceremony in two of the city’s charming concert halls, and much more. The Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event runs between November 13th and 17th. For the first time it will also include Just Film Industry Days taking place on November 14th and 15th. Serbia and Southeastern Europe are the focus country/region this year.
DMovies will cover the action live and in loco exclusively for you, in a partnership that’s now on its sixth year. Three journalists (myself, Jeremy Clarke and Eoghan Lyng) in loco plus a kind helping hand from Paul Risker, remotely from Birmingham, and other writers across the UK and the world.
A bubbling cauldron of movies
This year’s selection of 20 movies includes 13 world premieres and seven international premieres. Twelve movies come from Europe, with a further five from Asia and the Middle East, and three from the Americas (including a very rare US addition). Spain is the only country that appears as the main production country twice on the list. There are no British films in the main selection this year (let’s hope for better luck in the other sections of the event).
Festival Director and Head of Programme Tiina Lokk reveals the secret ingredients of the diverse selection: “This year’s diverse programme has remarkably high artistic value with sharp social perspective. Each film tackles contemporary and relevant issues with a stimulating, fresh angle. At the same time, our Official Selection aims to connect high-quality narrative films with auteur cinema. Hence, new artistic approaches and cinema languages have always caught our attention”.
The films below are listed in alphabetical order:
1. Amal (Belgium, Jawad Rhalib);
2. Andrea’s Love (Spain, 2023,l Manuel Martín Cuenca);
3. Bad Actor (Mexico, Jorge Cuchi);
4. Ben-Joe (Japan, Akira Iwamatsu; pictured at the top of this article);
5. Consent (France, Vanessa Filho);
6. Familiar (Romania/France/Taiwan, Călin Peter Netzer)
7. Forever Hold Your Peace (Montenegro/Serbia/Czech Republic/Croatia/North Macedonia/Slovenia, Ivan Marinović);
8. Invisible Windows (India, Bijukumar Demodaran; second image on this article);
9. Misericordia (Italy, Emma Dante);
10. Natasha’s Dance (Netherlands, Jos Stelling);
11. October Metafiction (South Korea, Kyu-jun Cho);
12. Once Again (For the Very First Time) (United States, Boaz Yakin);
13. Oxygen Station (Ukraine/Czech Republic/Sweden/Slovakia, Ivan Tymchenko);
14. Patient #1 (Georgia/Russia, Rezo Gigineishvili);
15. Ten Months (Israel, Idan Hubel);
16. Teresa (Spain, Paula Ortiz);
17. The G (Canada, Karl R. Hearne);
18. The Man from Rome (Netherlands/Germany, Jaap van Heusden);
19. The Magnet Man (Belgium/Luxembourg/France/Netherlands, Gust Van den Berghe); and
20. White Flag (Mongolia/Switzerland/Japan, Batbayar Chogsom).