Image from Culture.
Since 1997, Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival, a unique event showing feature films as well as short films, animations and youth films, has grown and developed into an A-class film festival. Taking place in November, when the nights here in Estonia are black and the air is cold, the festival provides warmth and comfort to cinema lovers, friends and enthusiasts all around the world. My own experience with Black Nights has been different each year but there’s always a constant feeling I have towards this film festival: admiration.
There is this particular memory I have from a few years back, when a friend of mine mentioned that she has lived near a cinema in Moscow, where they have big red carpet events. She has seen and been to many, and names such as Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Emma Stone, were mentioned. To put it simply, I was jealous and not because I wanted to see Emma with my own two eyeballs but because red carpet events, in their full capacity, are a part of the cinema experience I’m probably never going to witness in Estonia or elsewhere.
Years and years ago, I felt the same about film festivals, which seemed to happen everywhere but here in Estonia. But then, Black Nights Film Festival started to thrive and when I picked up my press-pass in 2011 from one of their information booths, the film festival excitement finally became a reality for me as well. The schedule, the directors, the people behind the press releases, different people from different nations – it was all better than I had ever imagined. And though that year was by far my most fulfilled experience, I still try to participate in the festival as much as I can each year. And who knows, maybe I will someday top that 2011 experience with something extremely exciting.
Anyway, last year I had the pleasure to watch Nightcrawler and Whiplash during the festival, but this year, through some vigorous planning, I’m going to see four movies in total. The Lobster, unfortunately, was sold out for both evenings by the time I whipped out my wallet but here are the four that made the cut:
Tobias Lindholm / Denmark
Partially chosen because the topic itself fascinates me, and to see a war movie from a perspective of a country that is not America, would most likely be interesting. Plus, I’ve gravitated only towards comedies when it comes to Nordic movies, so A War will definitely expand my knowledge of Danish cinema.
Justin Lerner / USA
This was my mother’s pick for us, and I can’t say I’m disappointed. The movie seems to tackle a very difficult topic, and it seems a little uncomfortable which itself, is the kind of feeling I fully expect from a movie about incest. Really looking forward to see Deborah Ann Woll as well.
John Crowley / Ireland, UK, Canada
It wasn’t the names in front of the camera that caught my eye, though I’m excited to see Domhnall Gleeson, it was the name behind the script: Nick Hornby. And I know I’m going to like it, and I know I’m going to regret seeing this one all by my lonesome, because I’m going to have to share my feelings right after.
Tom McCarthy / USA
Out of all the movies my friend wanted to see, Spotlight was the only one we could attend together, and possibly the safest pick. I mean, you can never go wrong with Mark Ruffalo and child molestation, right?
And there you have it, my four picks from this year’s Black Nights Film Festival, and I know what you’re going to say: how very boring of me to pick mostly American movies. But the thing is, the first two I’m going to attend with my mother, and she needs Estonian subtitles, which are not provided to all of the movies. And the last two just happened to correspond with my work schedule, which is a shame really because I know I should watch more European cinema. So don’t judge, I’ll try to do better next year because I know Black Nights Film Festival has some amazing cinematic selections all around the world!