by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
The main event here at POFF, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which is entering its final weekend, is the Eurasia International Competition, a mix of 21 films hailing from Europe and Asia. The films on view have been acclaimed at other film festivals on the circuit and are making their Eastern European or Baltic Premieres at the event. As a whole, this is an astonishing survey of current trends in world cinema.
European titles includes films from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Poland, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. Representative Asian titles hail from Israel, Lebanon, India, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka. One of the films in the competition "Wedding In Bessarabia", directed by Romanian filmmaker Napoleon Helmis is a world premiere in Tallinn.
The films are a diverse group of visual essays and filmmaking of the highest order. The standout selections are perhaps French filmmaker Gaspar Noé’s eccentric visual trip “Enter the Void”; the Hungarian director György Pálfi’s improvisational “I Am Not Your Friend”; the neo-Hitchcockian Austrian gem "Lourdes"; . the hyperstylized Belgian film "Altiplano" and the Israeli/German co-production "Ajami”, co-directed by an Arab, Scandar Copti, and an Israeli, Yaron Shani. The Iranian film “No One Know About Persian Cats” by celebrated director Bahman Ghobadi reveals how underground rock n roll music and musicians survive in the repressive culture of contemporary Teheran.
Among the well-known European directors included in this competition section are Francois Ozon, the French auteur of "Le Refuge", a moving tale of drug addiction and redemption; Ukranian director Kira Muratova who offers the melancholy “The Melody of Street Organ”; the Finnish director Klaus Harö's human drama “Letters to Father Jacob” and Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat’s “Women without Men”, a tour de force art film for which she won Best Director honors at the Venice Film Festival.
For more information on the Eurasia International Competition, visit: http://2009.poff.ee/eng/films/programs/official_competition_eurasia