Tallinn announces first competition titles

Seven of the eight are world premieres

by Amber Wilkinson

Two Fridas is Ishtar Yasin's second film
Two Fridas is Ishtar Yasin's second film Photo: Courtesy of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
The first eight films in Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Official Selection competition strand have been announced.

Seven of the films that will screen at the festival - which runs from November 16 to December 2 - are world premieres.

The announcement features four European films, three from the Americas and one from Egypt.

Among them are Ishtar Yasin's Two Fridas, starring Venice Best Actress Award winner Maria de Mereiros, and Bernard Émond's A Place To Live, which will have its international premiere in Tallinn.

The selection includes four films from Europe, with director Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm’s Until We Fall representing Denmark, Robert Budina’s A Shelter Among the Clouds coming from Albania, Gábor Reisz’s Bad Poems from Hungary and Juha Lehtola’s The Human Part produced in Finland.

The full Official Selection slate will be announced on the 18 October.

The films so far, with trailers where available (descriptions provided by the festival):

A Place To Live (Pour Vivre Ici), Canada, 2018, director Bernard Émond
Monique, having lost her husband after a long and happy marriage, feels the need to leave home and the countryside to avoid an emotional breakdown and loneliness and to reconnect with her son and daughter. After witnessing how entangled both are with their careers and social affairs she embarks on quiet journey, backwards in time, with a mission to visit her childhood homes, hoping to find solace and reclaim the will to move on with her life.

A Shelter Among the Clouds (Streha mes reve), Albania, 2018, director Robert Budina
Herding sheep in the Albanian Alps, Besnik, a devoted Muslim and talented woodcarver with a slight mental disorder finds his life thrown out of balance after the death of his father, and the return of his multi-faith family, who are set on taking the old house. Another potential conflict looms over a discovery in the old village church, where a new revelation threatens the equilibrium between the local Muslim and Catholic communities.

Bad Poems (Rossz versek), Hungary, 2018, director Gábor Reisz
Tamás, 33, is heartbroken after his girlfriend breaks up with him in Paris and wallowing in self-pity, he takes a trip down memory lane to figure out what went wrong with the relationship and himself in general. Offering a playful collage of memories from different periods of his life with the four different characters of himself in dialogue, the film manages both to provide an subjective insight into its protagonists psyche and that of the society that surrounds it - Hungary.

The Guest, Egypt, 2018, director Hadi El Bagoury
A liberal Islamic scholar, Dr. Yahya, is on trial after being accused of anti-religious attitudes. In the midst of his problems, the trial and his wife's cancer diagnosis, he prepares to invite Osama, an assistant professor at the university who is asking for his daughter's hand in marriage, but this guest comes with a gift that no one expected. Succeeding in witty, humorous dialogues, the films also builds an aura of growing uncertainty, as it gradually reveals unexpected revelations about the characters and their intentions.

The Human Part (Ihmisen osa), Finland, 2018, director Juha Lehtola
One of Finland’s most celebrated actors Hannu-Pekka Björkman shines as the bankrupt protagonist of this warm comedy-drama, holding a full time job as a swindler to keep the facade of the successful businessman he used to be, trying to fool both society and his family.

Two Fridas (Dos Fridas), Costa Rica, 2018, director Ishtar Yasin
A drama with roots in the historic character of Judith Ferreto, the nurse of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who spent her latter days in Costa Rica. The film depicts a collection of her memories that gradually becomes indistinguishable from the ‘present’, often veering into surrealistic imagery.

Until We Fall (Til vi falder), Denmark, 2018, director Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm
Mourning the loss of their 10-year-old son, Adam and Louise return to their apartment in a quaint Spanish coastal town to try to and find closure and rebuild their love for each other, only to encounter more pain.

Wandering Girl (Niña Errante), Colombia-France, 2018, Director Rubén Mendoza
Four girls, stepsisters from different mothers, are united by the death of their father who had been a casanova. They embark on a journey to take the youngest of them to live with an aunt in the countryside. Director Ruben Mendoza’s second film is a free flowing road film and a coming of age story of a girl put on the road by the love of her sisters whom she never knew existed.

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