This year, Black Nights will show over 30 different documentaries in the various subprogrammes. As always the number can vary, as genres are hard to define in the case of some films and depends greatly on viewers’ tastes and producers’ marketing decisions. Estonia itself certainly had a good year in documentaries, and the country’s best will go toe to toe with the Latvians and Lithuanians in a strong Baltic competition programme.
But as always, the cutting edge and core of the documentaries at PÖFF will be in the programme doc@poff, where we present 11 of them this year.
The most prestigious maestri are Werner Herzog with his first 3D documentary “The Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, which takes the viewer on a head-spinningly exciting voyage into the Chauvet caves – one of the cradles of human civilization. Then there’s Martin Scorsese’s brand-new epic biographical film about legendary Beatles guitarist, "George Harrison: Life in the Material World". Mika Kaurismäki is no stranger to Estonians. This year gives us “Mama Africa”, about famous South African singer Miriam Makeba. The well-known Austrian documentary filmmaker Michael Glawogger has also made a new film – a bold global study of prostitution’s glittering and more sordid sides called “Whore’s Glory”.
Two strong political documentaries come from different parts of the world. “Tahrir 2011” tells the story of three authors of this year’s Arab Spring events in Egypt’s capital Cairo. And a film about life inside Russia that focuses on Anna Politkovskaya, “The Bitter Taste of Freedom”.
In addition, there is a film that was 20 years in the making – “My Reincarnation” – talks of a Buddhist teacher and his son. And an aesthetic, appetizing film about the world’s best sushi chef, Jiro.
Poland’s strong traditions are furthered by Wojcech Staron’s “Argentinean Lessons”, which talks about a Polish expat community far away in Latin-America.
And last but not least, the film “Fish and Onions”, in which Marc Brummund has filmed Old Believers in the present, living among us. This film gives us a generous insight into all four of the beautiful Estonian seasons in the spiritual life of a community and its individuals.
Thank to everyone for their relations and revelations of life.
Kaarel Kuurmaa, programme host