Black Nights announces the full line up for its Official Selection.
The films represent the diversity of geography, genre and theme present in this year’s refreshed competition programmes, with films coming from both renowned, multi-award-winning auteurs and returning Black Nights favourites. It includes nineteen world and four international premieres, including the five world and two international premieres previously announced.
Festival Director Tiina Look commented, “I never stop being surprised by the quality of films we are able to present in the Official Selection. Again, we have a huge number of world premieres and it means a great deal to me and the festival that so many filmmakers - both the established and up-and-comers - trust us to introduce their new works to the world.” She continued, “It’s also wonderful to have several films in competition which have been developed in part through our programmes in Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event. Looking at the full lineup, I think the competition for this year’s prizes will be stronger than ever.”
The 26th edition of Tallinn Black Nights will introduce one new competition programme, Critics’ Picks, led by critic and programmer Nikolaj Nikitin. Critics’ Picks joins the established Official Selection, First Features, Baltic Competition and Rebels with a Cause programmes. Critics’ Picks was introduced to highlight more arthouse fare in the PÖFF lineup, starting with around 15 features in its first year. This year’s Baltic Competition will exclusively screen fiction films and also considers minority Baltic co-productions. Rebels and First Features competitions will continue to represent their respective niches - experimental works and fiction debuts.
For the first time, most programmes also have their own lead curators - with Triin Tramberg handling First Features, Edvinas Pukšta on Baltic Competition duty, Javier Garcia Puerto heading the Rebels programme, Helmut Jänes leading Midnight Shivers and Tiit Tuumalu responsible for DOC@PÖFF.
Israeli film will be in Focus in this year's 26th edition, alongside Showcase of Brazilian cinema. The festival runs from November 11-27, 2022.
J.-P. Valkeapää’s fourth feature comes to Tallinn as a world premiere. His previous films have debuted in Cannes, Venice and Toronto. A motley crew of Finns, transplanted to the Costa del Sol, contend with various threads unravelling from the central family’s murky, criminal past. Grimy and colourful, Hit Big is at once action-packed and amusing.
Béatrice Pollet’s legal drama stars Maud Wyler, Géraldine Nakache and Grégoire Colin as mother, lawyer and father respectively. The issue at stake in the courtroom and at home: the little considered topic of pregnancy denial. Could a mother really not know they are with child? This sophomore feature has its world premiere in Tallinn this November.
Starring Happy as Lazzaro lead Adriano Tardiolo as a institutionalised child turned distinctive adult, Jailbird is a film about freedom and testing your boundaries. Andrea Magnani’s debut Easy premiered in Locarno and picked up several awards on its festival circuit. Jailbird, with all its complex and colourfully painted characters, also has its world premiere at Black Nights.
Dutch/Belgian period piece Piece Of My Heart is firmly focused on friendship. Two young girls under intense pressure, one losing herself in the Amsterdam nightlife scene, come to realise the most important thing is caring for each other. Introducing two dancers as lead actresses, with the film rooted in the movements of classical ballet. Piece Of My Heart is a world premiere at POFF this year.
Based on a truly unique true story - in-fact that of director Adrian Goiginger’s very own great-grandfather - The Fox takes a revealing look at companionship in difficult circumstances - a lonely military motorcycle courier, the adorable, wounded titular fox and the wartime journey they embark on together. Black Nights hosts the world premiere of this affecting piece.
Lucky girl is the tale of one strong women, energetically told in a bold colour palette. A forthright television personality, portrayed by newcomer Ksenia Khyzhniak as at once as vulnerable and indestructible, contends with health challenges and the constellations of support and family around her. Ukraine’s Marysia Nikitiuk brings Lucky Girl to Black Nights for its world premiere.
A doctor must secure her children’s future away from an abusive almost-ex-husband, after she’s diagnosed with incurable cancer. Arranging this future brings her to a confrontation that can't (and mustn't) be avoided. This Norwegian production, directed by Mona Hoel, also has its world premiere in Tallinn.
Self-proclaimed “renovation drama” Bungalow charts the darkly humorous progress of a young couple fixing up tumble-down house while watching their relationship falling apart in parallel. Millennial angst abounds in Lawrence Cote Collins’ crafty world premiere.
A father, released early from prison, brings home plenty of intergenerational family conflict. Son and married girlfriend find themselves taken in by the old criminals charms. Asif Rustamov’s second feature was part of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event’s Co-Production Market in 2020 and now comes to Black Nights for its world premiere.
Sudhanshu Saria returns to Black Nights with his second feature, after his debut LOEV debuted at the festival. Social drama Sanaa tells the story of a Mumbai-based financial advisor - a pile up of professional and personal crises force her to re-evaluate her life choices and discover whether she’s really ever been in control. Saria's second feature world premiers in the Official Selection.
Period drama Ann is a devastating look at the last hours of a pregnant teen in 1980s Ireland. It’s a powerful, truthful and moving telling of another true story - the tragic reality of which still has a lasting impact on society. Ann is also a world premiere at Black Nights.
Based on a decidedly heavy true (soviet murder) story, Olexandr Zhovna’s second feature film is lensed in rich black and white. It’s a complex and dramatic reflection on tragedy and overcoming it. Together we explore a noir-ish parallel reality of “human vices and deviations”. Sashenka has its world premiere in Tallinn this November.
Diving into a neighbourhood on the “wrong side of Tel Aviv”, the darkly comic Ducks An Urban Legend, peers into lives planning weddings, stealing pensions and planting some bombs here and there. Ducks An Urban Legend was previously part of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event’s Works in Progress competition in 2021. It also forms part of this year’s In Focus: Israel programme, as a world premiere.
Juraj Lehotský’s third feature Plastic Symphony is another world premiere at POFF this year. Street musician stepbrothers Matúš and David search for happiness and acceptance, in their own very different ways, in a vividly drawn, arranged and photographed Vienna. It’s a divergent journey of discovery for both.
Rebellious kids in a commune are the focus in Christopher Roth’s anarchic feature, with a script based on writer Jeanne Tremsal's own upbringing. As ever, the commune isn't quite the utopia it was intended to be - rebellion is on the cards, when it turns out that falling in love is the worst thing you can do. Servus Papa, See You in Hell has its international premiere in Tallinn after premiering in Munich.
Writer/director Etienne Fourie has crafted a dark comedy that is all at once quite odd, intensely personal and hugely entertaining. This international premiere has a bit of everything: mysterious deaths, wounded relationships and, perhaps most eye-catchingly, spectacular drag performances.
Writer/director Hilmar Oddsson’s road trip black comedy is an Icelandic/Estonian co-production, coming to the Official Selection for its world premiere this November. Driving Mum plays out an intensely personal, dreamlike journey against the stunning backdrop of Icelandic nature. Untethered from the one strongest connection in his life, Jon must follow through on his mother’s final, dying wish: to be buried in the village of her birth. The ensuing long, cross-country odyssey is a profoundly effecting and amusing rumination on loss, loneliness and confronting change.
Inspired by a true story, Gentian Koçi’s A Cup of Coffee and New Shoes On follows twin, middle-aged brothers - already both deaf and mute - who must contend with also losing their sense of sight. This sophomore feature is high concept with a heart, delving deep into themes of perception and human existence, told in pure, clear cinematic language which fades to a final, empty, metaphorical black. This Albanian/Portuguese/Greek/Kosovan co-production will also have its world premiere in Tallinn. The director’s 2017 Daybreak was selected as Albania’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, after premiering and picking up a best actress award in Sarajevo.
Ahmad Bahrami’s previous feature The Wasteland premiered in Venice, picking up three prizes in 2020, including the Orizzonti Best Film Award, before featuring in PÖFF’s Current Waves programme that year. The Wastetown is a companion piece of sorts, close in name and theme, a portrait of the rougher edges of Iran, again shot in crisp black and white. Bemani, in legal limbo, convicted of murder, searches for her missing son in the scrapyard where her brother-in-law works. Each challenging and twisty encounter with the scrapyard’s inhabitants, leads our protagonist closer to the complex truth.
A love triangle or more like a love square, Sergio Machado’s River of Desire introduces three cohabiting brothers - unfortunately, only one is married to the beguiling Anaira. Stranded at home by a riverboat captain husband out on a mysterious charter, the romantic temptations are too much for the woman left behind. The film has its world premiere at PÖFF26 and will also form part of a small Brazilian showcase. Machado’s fiction debut Lower City (Cidade Baixa) debuted in Canne’s Un Certain Regard programme, picking him up the Youth Prize.
Ryuichi Mino is back in Tallinn for the second year running, after Make The Devil Laugh featured in the Official Selection in PÖFF 25. Ginji The Speculator will both satisfy and surprise fans of his previous work. His third feature is a British comedy in Japanese clothes, with central character Ginji at once earnest farm boy and entrepreneurial savant, finding ingenious and entertaining solutions in a timeless tale of business and found family. Lead actor Yu Uemura picked up the Best New Artist at Japan’s MainichiFilm Awards. Ginji The Speculator is also a world premiere at this year’s Black Nights.
Lương Đình Dũng returns to PÖFF after featuring in the Official Selection with Father & Son back in PÖFF 21, as well as with Drowsy City in 2019. Father & Son was also put forward at Vietnam’s Oscar entry. This time, it’s a father-daughter story, where trucker Hùng starts out a brutal path of revenge when his depressed daughter, An, is kidnapped. And worse. She’s all he’s got and he has the dark and mysterious past to hunt down and bring her captor to justice. 578 Magnum is an internationally-premiering action thriller quite unlike else you’ll see this year: intricately choreographed action sequences, orbiting a dark thematic heart.
In laser-focused realtime, The Punishment charts the grief and regret of two parents with a child missing (or abandoned?) in the forest. The psychological thriller explores the darkest corners of relationship and family values. Chile’s Matias Bize brings his 7th feature, a Chilean/Argentinian co-production, to PÖFF for its international premiere. Bize has a cast iron track record, premiering previous works at Locarno and Venice twice, while his most recent feature Private Messages (Mensajes Privado) picked up best acting and editing awards at its premiere in Malaga last year.