May 27, 2024

Tallinn Black Nights, one of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe, has revealed the full lineup of its Official Selection Competition, with films by Emma Dante, Călin Peter Netzer, Gust Van den Berghe and Rezo Gigineishvili in the running. There are seven international premieres and 13 world premieres.

The festival’s 27th edition runs Nov. 3-19, while the festival’s industry platform, Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, will run from Nov. 13-17.

The Grand Prix for the Best Film, with a 20,000 Euros ($21,000) cash prize, will be bestowed by Tallinn City Council.

Festival director Tiina Lokk said: “This year’s diverse program 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.”

OFFICIAL SELECTION COMPETITION
“Amal,” international premiere
Jawad Rhalib’s social drama Amal tells a story of a teacher in a Brussels school who encourages her pupils to cultivate a love of reading and freedom of expression, even if it means putting herself in danger. Her daring teaching practices will change her pupils.

The Belgian-Moroccan filmmaker’s fiction features and documentaries have tackled themes of human rights and social realism, and have been screened at numerous international film festivals. In 2020, his documentary “Fadma: Even Ants Have Wings” won Amnesty International Human Rights Award at Durban Film Festival in South Africa.

“Andrea’s Love,” international premiere
After becoming one of Spain’s most respected directors and being honored at several leading film festivals, Manuel Martín Cuenca comes back to Tallinn with this touching film on love, family and disillusionment.

Andrea, a 15-year-old girl, is desperate to recover the love of her father, who disappeared from her life after getting divorced from her mother a few years ago. Andrea remembers her father as a loving, affectionate man and cannot understand why he doesn’t want to see his children anymore.

“Bad Actor,” world premiere
Jorge Cuchi’s nuanced, incisive and thrilling drama is set in the post #MeToo era that is all about consent, and a search for truth and justice in a case of sexual assault.

On a film shoot, actress Sandra Navarro accuses actor Daniel Zavala of abusing her during a sex scene. Daniel proclaims his innocence, Sandra decides to press charges, while the production tries to prevent the incident from turning into a scandal.

Cuchí’s debut “50 or Two Whales Meet on the Beach” premiered at the 35th Venice Film Critics’ Week and scooped several awards thereafter. This includes the Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in 2020.

“Ben-Joe,” world premiere
Akira Iwamatsu’s latest work is based on the true story of a girl who cut into the darkness of the hearts of Japanese youth.

In his previous film, “Happy Ending,” Iwamatsu portrayed a family through fantasy. Here, he takes a completely opposite approach, once again looking at family issues. Through social issues such as eating disorders and domestic violence, the film depicts the pain of the human heart and the search for reconciliation between division and reconciliation.

“Consent,” international premiere
“Consent” is the second collaboration of Vanessa Filho (“Angel Face,” 2018) and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman (“The Artist,” 2012). It is provocative and cerebral, an intriguing narrative elevated by exquisite visual language. Paris, 1985. Vanessa is 13 years old when she meets Gabriel Matzneff, a renowned 50-year-old writer. The teenager becomes the lover and muse of this man, who is celebrated by the cultural and political world. Losing herself in the relationship, she suffers more and more violently from the destructive influence this predator exercises over her.

“Familiar,” world premiere
“Familiar” is story about Dragoș, a Romanian film director, who decides to make a film about his family’s emigration to Germany in the 80s. Because the emigration was done under suspicious conditions, Dragos investigates undercover, with the help of his former girlfriend, Ilinca. The collaboration brings the two closer together, however, complicating things with his fiancee. The director, Călin Peter Netzer, is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in Romania. He is best known for Golden Bear winner “Child’s Pose.”

“Forever Hold Your Peace,” world premiere
Set on the Mediterranean seaside, Dragana gives up marrying Momo two days before the date. His dangerously stubborn father forces the disastrous wedding into happening. The film includes an ensemble of wild characters who follow a series of absurd steps, complete with alcohol, gunfire and dynamite. The director is Ivan Marinović. “Forever Hold Your Peace” is his second feature film as a writer/director.

“The G,” world premiere
This film is a “winter noir” based on real-world scams directed at the eldery, and inspired by the director’s own grandmother’s story and character. It’s about a woman who – regardless of her age or situation – refuses to accept that her life is over.

The films of Karl R. Hearne have premiered at TIFF, SXSW and New Directors/NewFilms.

“Invisible Windows,” world premiere
Three-time Indian National Film Award winner Bijukumar Demodaran is not a newcomer to bold socio-political topics such as state discrimination and its blatant disregard towards the weak. “Invisible Windows” is impregnated with surreal imagery, the film depicts the characters’ strife against the powerful and evil, who will always find a reason to hurt the powerless and poor.

Demodaran’s first film “Saira” screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, and his films have been screened at many international film festivals and won numerous awards.

The Magnet Man,” world premiere
Lucien is a human magnet: everything made of iron sticks to his body. Rural Belgium at the beginning of the 20th century is no place for his unusual natural talent. The film tells the tragicomic tale of how our greatest talents can become our greatest flaws, and how unpredictable our lives can be.

The director, Gust Van den Berghe, has worked with the Royal Ballet of Flanders and as an assistant director at the Royal Flemish Opera. His previous films, “Blue Bird” (2011) and “Little Baby Jesus of Flandr” (2010), have both premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

The Magnet Man”
Courtesy of Coproduction Office

“The Man From Rome,” international premiere
The film tells the story of skeptical priest Filippo who is sent to a Dutch border community to investigate a supposed miracle. As he gets closer to a resolution of the case, he also gets entangled in a series of apparently miraculous events, bringing down his certainties about his calling as a priest and as a human being.

Jaap van Heusden has been writing and directing films that resonate with the great themes of our time (immigration, mental health and the implosion of the great institutions) by telling deeply personal stories. His films have competed at Tribeca, Cannes, AFI Fest, Rome, IDFA, SXSW, Melbourne and Rotterdam.

“Misericordia,” international premiere
“Misericordia,” Emma Dante’s third feature, is based on her stage play. Three prostitutes live in the wasteland by the sea, where a village of outcasts has been established. Their lives are scarred by poverty, ignorance and violence. The only ray of light in their lives is Arturo, whom they care for together. The young man is a weak-minded child in an adult body. What will the fate of this young man be in an environment he has not chosen and cannot choose because of his disability?

Dante’s last feature, “The Macaluso Sisters,” was in Venice Competition in 2020 and won the Pasinetti Award. Her feature debut, 2013’s “A Street in Palermo,” was also in Venice Competition and won the best actress award for Elena Cotta’s performance.

“Natasha’s Dance,” international premiere
Jos Stelling’s latest work, “Natasha’s Dance,” tells a visual story of an outsider, introverted Danny, and Natasha, a former ballerina and graduate of the school of hard knocks. The lives of this unlikely duo become inextricably interwined, as their fates bound up together.

Stelling’s debut film “Mariken van Nieumeghen” played in the Cannes competition program in 1975. His 1995 film “De vliegende Hollander” was in competition at Venice Film Festival.

“October Metafiction,” world premiere
Kyu-jun Cho’s low-budget film is a daring experiment that leverages AI technology to enhance storytelling. From transforming the heroine’s Japanese dialogue to creating a visual diary through AI-generated art, the film pushes the boundaries of cinematic innovation.

“Once Again (for the Very First Time),” world premiere
A legendary street dancer and a young spoken word poet reflect on their lives and past relationship, through dreams, dance battles, rap battles and memories. The film is a blend of surrealism, drama, rap, dance and music; showcasing talents and voices that both call to the roots of their art and lean toward its future. The director, Boaz Yakin’s first feature “Fresh” won filmmaker’s trophy at Sundance 1994.

“Oxygen Station,” world premiere
Ivan Tymchenko’s second feature is a multi-layered poetic drama based on the life of Mustafa Jemilev, Soviet dissident, human rights activist and leader of the Crimean Tatar nation. The events take place in the summer of 1980, when Jemilev serves a four-year exile in the settlement of Zyryanka, north-eastern Siberia. He works at the oxygen station – a place symbolizing the total lack of oxygen in the USSR. According to Tymchenko, the film is an inspiring story for contemporary audiences since it reminds us how inhumane the Soviet Union was.

“Patient #1,” world premiere
“Patient #1” is the winner of the Werner Herzog Film Award. Set at the end of the Soviet era, Rezo Gigineishvili’s film focuses on the decline in power of Konstantin Chernenko, a Russian leader with failing health who is surrounded by a large medical team. He is old and frail, but has a tight grip on power. He is waging a war in Afghanistan, has a nuclear button and can take the entire world to the grave with him. It is convenient for both the elites and the secret services to keep the leader alive and various groups are scoring political points.

Gigineishvili previously directed “Hostages” (2017), which premiered at the Berlinale and participated in more than 30 international film festivals including Telluride, Edinburgh, Thessaloniki, Sarajevo, Shanghai, Haifa and Cairo.

“Ten Months,” world premiere
After years of failed attempts to get pregnant, Marev finally succeeds, but her pregnancy turns out to be a strange and dangerous one. Merav needs the support of her family, who refuse to accept the pregnancy and try to terminate it. The director Idan Hube’s films and TV shows feature neo-realistic aesthetics and explore social injustice through the eyes of marginalized characters.

“Teresa,” international premiere
Paula Ortiz (“The Bride”) has created an adaptation of the stage play “La Lengua en Pedazos” by Juan Mayorga, which is based on the figure of Saint Teresa of Jesus, also known as Teresa of Ávila. In the film, Teresa, a Carmelite nun, reformer, and mystic of the Roman Catholic Church, has been ostracized for her beliefs. She will meet with the Inquisitor. All kinds of decisions regarding her are possible.

“White Flag,” world premiere
Saran and Naran are young women in their early twenties trying to start a new life in the steppe as nomads. Despite their close bond, both are troubled by a ghost from the past. Batbayar Chogsom is a Mongolian director and screenwriter based in Switzerland. His debut, “Out of Paradise” (2018), was awarded Best Film at the Shanghai Film Festival. “White Flag” is his second feature.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7_pchkNscA

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