PÖFF : 2020 : BNFF
Focus country Germany brings a scandalous biopic to open the festival

Germany will be the Focus Country for this year’s hybrid 24th edition of the festival. The festival’s Opening Film will be Oskar Roehler’s Fassbinder biopic Enfant Terrible. Fourteen more German films will screen online and onsite as part of the In Focus: New German Cinema selection.

Distributed among several sections of the festival, from First Features, through Rebels With a Cause, to the Official Selection – Competition, an abundance of quality German cinema will be represented in Tallinn this November. The German Oskar Roehler’s Enfant Terrible will be the festival's opening film.

The festival welcomes two German films for their world premieres, alongside festival circuit favourites including Julia von Heinz’s And Tomorrow The Entire World, which recently premiered in Venice’s official competition, two of 2020’s Berlinale Golden Bear competitors and the Cannes-debuting Enfant Terrible. Finally, there will be Special Screenings of two pivotal pieces from German filmmaking history, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s remastered Berlin Alexanderplatz and Margarethe von Trotta’s Marianne & Juliane.

The programme is presented in collaboration with German Films and long-term festival supporter, the Goethe-Institut. In addition to the programme of the main festival, sub-festival PÖFF Shorts will screen Next Generation Short Tiger projects from Germany. Ulrich Ribbert, Director of the Goethe-Institut Estland, is looking forward to the festival: „The 24th edition of PÖFF will be something very special for those who are hungry for films and for fans of German cinema. The programme is certainly a highlight of this year's cultural events.“

In addition to screenings, German screenwriters and professionals will participate in a variety of I@T&BE programmes, including presenting renowned scriptwriters at the TV Beats forum, showcasing actor Aaron Hilmer as part of Black Nights Stars and joining a roundtable on production design “Lost in translation? Visual story development from script to screen” under the Black Room banner, in collaboration with Variety magazine.

The full line-up of Black Nights will be announced on the 6th of November.
Ticket sale for the first screenings of the films in the programme will begin this Friday.


Opening Film - Enfant Terrible
Oskar Roehler’s Enfant Terrible begins as it means to go on, in controversial and unconventional style, with a rough and ready, stylized aesthetic and powerful central performances. Unravelling in episodic fragments, we watch the pieces of one of Germany’s most celebrated and prolific filmmakers coalesce into the legend we now know. It’s a story of obsession, creative struggle and the consequences for those caught up in the whirlwind of Fassbinder’s blaze of filmmaking glory. The film has received the Cannes and premiered at Hamburg IFF, having its Estonian premiere at Black Nights.

Festival Director Tiina Lokk commented:
“Rainer Werner Fassbinder, together with Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff and Werner Herzog and others are the creative force that came to be called New German Cinema.
They were the key figures who helped to put post-war German cinema, suffering a two-decade-long identity crisis, on the world map again.”
Of the festival’s Opening Film, she noted that, “Enfant Terrible is definitely not your average classical biopic. Thanks to great use of locations, fantastic art direction and the decision to keep the storytelling creatively loose, regarding what actually happened in Fassbinder’s life.
Feeling scandalously candid and painful in places, we can say the film really ascends to the act of telling a story of an artist, offering a perspective, through superb acting, on the enormous inner turmoil of an artist, on having a conflict with yourself, society and its written and unwritten rules.
Definitely one of the most interesting and controversial films of the year that should resonate strongly with audiences in the #metoo era.”

In Focus: New German Cinema

Berlin Alexanderplatz
From Afgan-German director Burhan Qurbani, this sleek, neon-tinged interpretation of Alfred Döblin’s novel brings past and present colliding together. Exploring the endless cycle of risk, reward, restraint and reinvention, a recent immigrant struggles to find his path in modern Germany. After having its world premiere at the Berlinale, it comes to PÖFF as an international premiere.

This German-French co-production from director, and central-figure of the Berlin School, Christian Petzold, won its lead actress, Paula Beer, a Silver Bear at Berlin. Bringing a mythological twist to a suspenseful love story, with occasional, hypnotic diversions into urban planning theory, it’s a film to let wash over you and savour. The film screens as an Estonian premiere and as part of the Screen International Critics' Choice line up.

Visar Morina’s second feature comes to PÖFF after a world premiere at Sundance. Is the anti-heroic central character, an immigrant engineer, held back and oppressed by his environment or building a paranoid prison of his own making? The visual world of this German-Kosovan co-production reflects his claustrophobic interior life in intricate, repeating interior spaces.

Walchensee Forever
Director Janna Ji Wonders takes her audience on an autobiographical journey to the lakeside center of her family’s universe. Four generations of women ponder concepts of home, family, and fulfillment in this Berlinale-premiering documentary which has its Estonian premiere at PÖFF this year. The film won the Bavarian Film Award in January.

Actress Franka Potente makes her directorial and featuring writing debut with Home. A freed felon finds little has changed in the microcosm of small-town America, where his past casts a long shadow. Even under the weight of past grudges, there is still an opening for redemption in a budding relationship that crosses the divide. Home screens as an Estonian premiere.

And Tomorrow The Entire World
A young woman in the cauldron of political protest faces down fundamental questions, personal and political, in Julia von Heinz’s ultra-current, Antifa-focussed piece. How far over the line would you step to defend your beliefs? Von Heinz was the first female German director to join Venice’s official competition since Margharete von Trotta.

Model Olimpia
Director Frédéric Hambalek paints DIY therapy, existential dread, and psychological terror across a canvas of German domesticity. Up to its final frames, it skillfully skirts the boundaries of fantasy and reality. This deeply unsettling debut has its world premiere at PÖFF as part of the First Features Competition programme.

Leonie Krippendorff’s hot and bright coming-of-age drama finds a gaggle of teenage girls discovering themselves in the sweltering heat of a Berlin summer. One shy 14-year old steps out of her comfort zone, beyond her smartphone screen and into adult life. The film appears as an Estonian premiere after debuting in Berlin’s Generation 14plus strand.

Caged Birds
In the conjoined-fate of a wild-eyed, jailed counter-culture icon and the idealistic lawyer trying to free him, we zero in on the universal desire to simply be free. The drama is driven by perfectly off-kilter performances and swirling political machinations. Oliver Rihs’ Swiss/German co-production takes part in PÖFF’s main competition and screens as an international premiere.

Curveball – A True Story. Unfortunately.
Johannes Naber’s semi-fictionalized take on the German involvement in the build-up to the Iraq war charts a winding path through truths and untruths. It’s an absurd, blackly-comic, and slightly queasy vision of chancers and ideologues all pushing their luck to tell their own stories. Curveball is an Estonian premiere at PÖFF.

Shuffling languages, shifting genres, and challenging perspectives, Marcus Lenz’s feature is an Estonian premiere in Tallinn. An undocumented Ukranian nine-year-old in Germany must come to terms with his predicament, a changing sense of home, and the various adults drifting in and out of his orbit.

Black Milk
In a radical and female-first, semi-autobiographical piece directed by Uisenma Borchu, two sisters reunite in the Mongolian steppes. Though carrying her Western learnings, Wessi rediscovers a deeper and more transgressive connection in the rituals and people of her home. After premiering at Berlin, Black Milk comes to Tallinn as an Estonian premiere. Uisenma Borchu’s debut Don’t Look at Me This Way had the international premiere at the First Feature Competition of Black Nights in 2015.

Moritz Bleibtreu is both lead actor and first-time director in this inventive and mind-bending nocturnal thriller. Reality and dreams fray at the seams, as a supermarket security guard struggles through nested elevated-genre plotlines. After screening in Zurich and Hamburg, Cortex joins PÖFF’s Rebels With a Cause strand for its Estonian Premiere.

Children’s and youth film festival Just Film

Madison - A Fast Friendship
Kim Strobl sits her youthful cast atop a variety of two-wheeled contraptions as the titular Madison learns a lot about both competitive bicycling and friendship. With a stunning backdrop of Germany’s rolling hills and mountains, this family-friendly coming-of-age feature joins the Black Nights youth sub-festival Just Film’s programme this November.

Find the other programmes and news at www.poff.ee/en