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Black Nights Film Festival Tallinn 2013

Five young critics have been invited to Tallinn, to attend the festival, to follow its films and events, and to write about their impressions (guided by experienced critics. Follow their daily texts arrow.
Of Horses and Men
"Of Horses and Men" (Benedikt Erlingsson)

Estonians are polite people. If you want to cross the street, the cars stop. Nobody urges you to hurry up. Time is not money. For some daily tasks you need patience (such as ordering a hot chocolate in one of the beautiful coffeeshops in the old city of Tallinn, the country's capital). As it is already end of November, a tiny Christmas market awaits you in the city's Town Hall Square, the Town Hall itself being a jewel of gothic architecture and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Weeks before its beginning, the festival sent a most detailed "manual" outlining temperature and currency, festival locations and restaurants and other useful information. The festival staff are decidely friendly, if you ask for a location, they accompany you there. The city is nice and so small that all festival venues are only a few minutes away from each other, so there is no chance of getting lost.

The festival, headed by the active and energetic Tiina Lokk (who founded it in 1997), is one of the leading film events in northern Europe and a center of films from the Baltic/Nordic region (maybe together with Göteborg). Concurently, it introduces independent world cinema to its Estonian public. There's no central main international competitive section; there are several competitions of the same value: of Eurasian films; of feature debuts coming from the Baltic Sea and Nordic countries; of Estonian films; of North American films. To these competitive sections, the festival adds an astonishing diversity of sidebars. A special program informed of "New Voices in Armenian Cinema". A focus was dedicated to Canadian cinema (with an extension to Inuit and Arctic cinematography). The "Animated Dreams" section presented an overview on recent animation. The Goethe Institute brought a series of new German films to Tallinn. Hungarian Istvàn Szabó received a Lifetime Achievement Award, held a masterclass and showed some of his films  — such as Mephisto which took him to international reknown in 1986 and which is unknown to a younger generation of filmgoers today. Another tribute went to Japanese Koji Wakamatsu. Spike Lee's Oldboy (the remake of Chan-wook Park's 2003 film of the same name) had its European premiere — proof that the festival has grown considerably in recent years and gained prestige and importance.

Festival, Goethe Institute and FIPRESCI invited five young critics to a workshop. See the reports of the "Tallinnts". (Klaus Eder)

Tallinn (Estonia, November 15 — December 1, 2013). Prize: Of Horses and Men (Hross i oss) by Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland, 2013, 85 min), shown in the Tridens Herring feature film competition, "for its wild yet intimate portrayal of a remote landscape and its inhabitants as seen from an original perspective, and for its dramatic score, which enhances the film's rhythm". Jury: Klaus Eder, Germany (, Amber Wilkinson, UK ("Eye For Film"), Jan Kaus, Estonia ("Sirp"). Print source: Icelandic Film Center.


A Winter of Emotions. Klaus Eder reviews the FIPRESCI-Award winning film Of Horses And Men by Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland). "One of the most experienced Icelandic filmmakers, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, produced this debut. The result is an astonishingly homogenous and original work where every aspect of filmmaking has been treated attentively." arrow.
Of Landscapes and Men. Jan Kaus talks about the experience of space in northern countries and films and focuses on Fredrik Edfeldt's movie Sanctuary. "Edfeldt uses interesting details to describe the way people are becoming part of the natural background, such as a moment of death, when the vapour of breath mixes with the smoke from the fireplace and vanishes into the trees and shadows." arrow.
Child's Play. Amber Wilkinson writes about the portrayal of children and troubled families in films from northern Europe. "The exploration of children by the films in Tallinn was heartening in its variety, freshness and avoidance of cliché." arrow.



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Tallinn 2013

bullet. Index
bullet. Of Horse and Men
bullet. Of Landscapes and Men
bullet. Child's Play

Language editor:
Amber Wilkinson

Writers' Workshop
("Young Tallinnts")