03 November 2022
One of the biggest festivals in Northern Europe, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, will give floor to a large group of Czech films and minority co-productions this year. The Unbalanced, Czech fiction feature debut by Zuzana Piussi, will celebrate world premiere in First Feature Competition, while Slovak-Polish-Czech Plastic Symphony by Juraj Lehotský is set to world-premiere in the main Competition. Furthermore, Critics' Picks Competition includes The Chambermaid by Mariana Čengel Solčanská (also screened in world premiere). Festival favourites Somewhere over the Chemtrails and Victim will enrich the Best of Fest selection, Adam Ondra: Pushing the Limits will feature in Sports Film Programme, a student film Leviticus spices up Queer Joy and Tallinn’s Youth and Children’s showcase Just Film will screen minority co-production Beautiful Beings.
For the second year in a row, Czech cinema takes part in the prestigious Tallinn’s First Feature Competition. The debut-focused section will host the world premiere of The Unbalanced by experienced documentary filmmaker Zuzana Piussi (Ji.hlava IDFF Special Mention for Ordeal in 2021). The film, which received the support from the Czech Film Fund EUR 112,000, is produced by Vít Janeček (for both Czech D1film and Slovak VIRUSfilm).
The Unbalanced, a dark comedy with strong elements of social drama, tells a story of how to handle a relationship with mentally unstable neighbours. The main character, a forty-five year old divorced mother, wants to start a new life with her daughter in a nice flat available for reasonable price but soon she realizes there is a catch: her elderly neighbor, who hovers on the brink of sanity, is constantly terrorising her surroundings…
Juraj Lehotský, whose coming-of-age drama Nina (2017) world-premiered in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West Competition, will present his third film, Plastic Symphony, in Tallinn’s main Competition. Slovak-Polish-Czech drama focuses on two brothers, who are dealing with the death of their mother and slogging through life in different ways. While Dávid accepts whatever life brings to him, Matúš, a talented musician, feels frustrated by his failed ambitions.
Miša Jelenek and Juraj Lehotský produced the film for ARYTMIA (SK) in co-production with Izabela Igel of Harine Films (PL), Katarína Tomková of kaleidoscope (SK), Tomáš Weinreb of Black Balance (CZ), Radio and Television Slovakia, ORKA Postproduction Studio (PL), Canal+ (PL) and ART4 (CZ). The Czech Film Fund backed the project for production with EUR 120,000.
Another competition section, Critics' Picks, includes Slovak-Czech co-production The Chambermaid, which was supported by the CFF for production (EUR 160,000). Period drama by Mariana Čengel Solčanská is a joint project between Radka Babincová & Simona Bago Móciková of Slovak Bright Sight Pictures and Czech producer Viktor Schwarcz of Cineart TV Prague, with Czech Television also being on board as co-producer. The film tells a story of love between two teenage girls – a daughter from a noble family and her housemaid who are discovering their emerging sexuality and what it means to love in a male dominated world of the World War I.
Tallinn’s Best of Fests selection highlights two of the festival favourites depicting hardships in Czech society. While Adam Koloman Rybanský’s debut Somewhere Over the Chemtrails, which world-premiered at Berlinale’s Panorama back in February, follows a group of firemen forming a militia in a Czech village, Victim, a debut by Michal Blaško, which celebrated world premiere in Venice’s Orizzonti last month, focuses on Czech-Ukrainian-Romani coexistence in a small Czech town. Moreover, another internationally recognized film (world premiere at Visions du Réel 2022), documentary Adam Ondra: Pushing the Limits by Jan Šimánek & Petr Záruba, takes part in Estonian Olympic Committee Sports Film Programme. All three films were backed by the Czech Film Fund in the various stages of the making.
Czech cinema will also be represented at Short Alternatives and Tallinn’s Youth and Children's sidebar Just Film. FAMU International student Alexandra Rainis takes part in short-focused section Queer Joy with her film Leviticus about two gay seminarians who must choose between their love and a commitment to Christ. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s drama Beautiful Beings, co-produced on the Czech side by Pavel Strnad & Petr Oukropec of Negativ, is selected for Children's Rights Programme. The CFF supported this year’s Best European film of Berlinale’s Panorama in the minority co-production scheme.