Black Nights Film Festival kicks off today


The 19th edition of the annual Black Nights Film Festival, the largest film festival in Estonia and one of 15 leading film festivals in the world, will once again bring a vast array of quality films to Estonia from November 13-29. But which to choose from hundreds of movies on offer? ERR News's sister portal has put together a list of recommendations.

The Black Nights Film Festival, or PÖFF in Estonia, will open on Friday with the screening of a legendary Georgian film “My Grandmother”, directed by Kote Miqaberidze. The choice of an opening title has been inspired by this year's focus on Georgian cinema.

The Main Competition lineup includes 18 films, seven of which will have their world premiers, and several more their international and European premiers in Tallinn. A new feature to the festival is the Tridens First Features competition, which aims to discover and showcase new talent. The competition lineup consists of 14 new films.

"I’m really pleased with the selection of countries and the genre versatility of the program, having directors at very different stages in their career,“ festival director Tiina Lokk said. “What we have is a mix of different ways of storytelling coming from different continents and cultures that are competing with each other, but also having a lot in common in terms of values and messages,” she added.

In addition to the main program, featuring fiction and documentaries from the previous two years, the festival includes three sub-programs – an animation film festival Animated Dreams, children and youth film festival Just Film, and short film festival Sleepwalkers. The next three weeks will also include a set of industry oriented events, including the European Film Forum on November 18-19.

Click here for full program and screening schedule.

Still, choosing which of the hundreds of films to see over the next two weeks can be difficult. For this reason, recommends 10 films which true PÖFF fans should not skip:

Matteo Garrone "Tale of Tales"

Brave to the point of madness, Italian auteur Matteo Garrone's most visually and aurally ravishing film to date gives flesh and blood – and plenty of both – to three Neapolitan fables from a collection by 17th-century author Giambattista Basile.

Gaspar Noe "Love"

French provocateur Gaspar Noé's drama about a student filmmaker in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra, before impregnating another woman.

Asif Kapadia "Amy"

The creator of a gripping documentary on legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna has returned five years later with a portrait of Amy Winehouse.

Danny Boyle "Steve Jobs"

Working from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography and employing a wholly innovative narrative structure built around three seminal product launches – the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT Cube in 1988, and the iMac in 1998 – Boyle’s film is the enthralling story of the iconoclast at the epicentre of the digital revolution.

Urmas Eero Liiv "Ghost Mountaineer"

This mystical story based on real events takes place at the end of the Soviet era and tells us about Estonian students who decide to go hiking in Siberian mountains.

Tom Hooper "The Danish Girl"

"The Danish Girl", drawn from the fact-based novel by David Ebershoff and similar in spirit to Hooper's magnificent "The King's Speech", focuses on a character struggling with internal demons, a happily married and relatively successful young artist who gradually determines that he is truly a she, and sets out to release the secret person inside.

Jaco Van Dormael "The Brand New Testament"

In Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael's universe, God (Benoit Poelvoorde) is a mean-spirited bastard lounging around his Brussels apartment in dressing gown and trackies, watching sport on TV and wreaking havoc on the world from his DOS-run PC. Goddess (the marvellous Yolande Moreau), his long suffering wife, sticks to her embroidery and bides her time. But ten-year-old daughter Éa (played by a fantastic young actress, Pili Groyne) has taken one too many strappings from the old man and resolves – with the help of her better-known older brother – to liberate the world from the malign hand of Dad.

 Vitaly Mansky "Under The Sun"

The perfect life in a perfect country. Every day new people are pouring into this this ideal world. Every North Korean is ready to give his life for this world. How much effort should it take for the North Korean people that this ideal world continued to live and work?

Grimur Hakonarson "Rams"

Two brothers, who live and tend to their award-winning sheep side by side, have not spoken to each other for four decades. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep and the authorities decide to cull all the animals, the brothers finally need to come together to save the special breed passed down for generations, and themselves, from extinction. 

Gust Van den Berghe "Blue Bird"

"Blue Bird" is a story about how one day in a child’s life can change its world. One morning, Bafiokadie and his sister Tene, two African children, leave their village. The only thing on their mind is to find their lost blue bird before the day is over. But they will find much more along their way.

Editor: M. Oll

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