Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to honour director Andrei Konchalovsky with the Lifetime Achievement Award

At the 23rd edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky will be presented with one of the festival’s two Lifetime Achievement Awards. The festival will also screen two of his films: the Northern European premiere of his latest film Sin (Il Peccato) and House of Fools (2002).

The festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award is an honorary accolade handed out each year to two people, a filmmaker or an audiovisual industry professional who has made a profound artistic or otherwise noteworthy impact on cinema at a regional and global level. Past winners include Liv Ulmann, Aki Kaurismäki, Arvo Pärt, István Szabó, Jörn Donner, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson and many others. 

Andrei Konchalovsky’s career spans over five decades, during which he has directed numerous films and series that have become an undisputed, integral part of film history: from early successes like The Story of Asya Klyachina (1966) and Uncle Vanya (1970), adapted from the famous Chekhov play and regarded as one of the greatest works of Russian cinema of all time, to House of Fools (2002), a Russian-French co-production about an asylum on the Russian-Chechnya border, The Postman’s White Nights (2014) and Paradise (2016), all of which won him awards at the Venice International Film Festival. He has also made popular English-language films such as Runaway Train (1985), which earned three Academy Award® nominations, Maria’s Lovers (1984), Duet for One (1986), Shy People (1986) and Homer and Eddie (1989).

A regular in the programmes of A-category film festivals, Konchalovsky has won the Venice Silver Lion (Best Director) award twice, for both The Postman’s White Nights (2014) and Paradise (2016), and the Grand Special Jury Prize for House of Fools (2002); the Cannes Grand Prize of the Jury for Siberiade (1979); the San Sebastian Golden Shell for Homer and Eddie (1989) and Silver Shell for Uncle Vanya (1970); and the Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe for A Lover’s Romance (1974), to name a few.

Konchalovsky has also earned considerable acclaim on the small screen, having directed landmark epics such as The Odyssey (1997), for which he won an Emmy award for best director, and The Lion in Winter (2003), which received a Golden Globe award for costume design alongside multiple Emmy® awards and nominations. He has also directed numerous opera and theatrical productions across Europe and the United States.

Black Nights Film Festival has screened several of Konchalovsky’s films in past editions: House of Fools in 2002, Gloss in 2007 and The Postman’s White Nights in 2014. At the 23rd edition, the festival we will be screening two of his films. On the 25th of November, PÖFF will screen House of Fools with Konchalovsky and lead actor Julia Visotskaya in attendance. The following day, on the 26th of November, Konchalovsky will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the gala screening of his latest film, Sin. It will be the film’s Northern European premiere.

Alberto Testone as Michelangelo in Sin

Sin, a Russian-Italian co-production, is a portrait of the Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti which follows him through the agonies and ecstasy of his own creative genius as two rival noble factions compete for his loyalty. The film was entirely shot in Italy over the course of fourteen weeks. The film is produced by Andrei Konchalovsky Studios and Jean Vigo Italia with Rai Cinema. The Renaissance maestro is played by Alberto Testone (Pasolini: The Hidden Truth; Suburra).

Festival director and head of programme Mrs Tiina Lokk commented: “When I was a student, Andrei Konchalovsky’s sophomore film, The Story of Asya Klyachina, was among the first films that I can clearly remember leaving a profound artistic imprint in my memory – so fresh in form and style of shooting, part of a new cinematic wave of naturalism, after a long period of artistic stagnation and the depiction of unnatural Soviet heroes on screen. It truly shook up my world and I have followed his oeuvre ever since! I hope it is safe to say that if some directors are essentially ‘Russian,’ he is more of a ‘World’ director – a creative chameleon of sorts whose artistic form is ever-changing, while his true essence remains the same.”

She went on to add: “We are excited to be the second festival after Rome to screen his latest film Sin! An intriguing piece of work, truly worthy of the label ‘arthouse blockbuster’! I can sense some similarities between him and the protagonist Michelangelo – the endless, almost uncontrollable drive to create, whatever the material or personal cost, whatever the obstacles!”

Sultan Isalmov and Julia Vysotskaya in House of Fools

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