If you cannot tell the difference between mornings and nights, it probably means that you are living in Estonia and it is likely to be freezing cold outside. In the middle of November, student life usually feels apocalyptic: deadlines, midterm works, tests, and exams all combine to wear down even the most hard-working students. It seems that your life is just one huge mess which falls through the black hole of Estonian days/nights. But there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. This light can be the Black Nights Film Festival, aka PÖFF.

The Black Nights Film Festival is an annual event which takes place in Tallinn and Tartu. This year, the festival will last from the 16th of November until the 2nd of December. Nowadays, PÖFF, which was established in 1997, is one of the largest film festivals in Northern Europe. Organizers claim that the festival screens around 250 features, more than 300 shorts and animations, and sees an attendance of 80,000 people annually. These numbers are actually incredibly high, especially if you know that Estonia itself is not a big country. Moreover, PÖFF holds FIAPF international accreditation, which means that this event is as prestigious as other film festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, Berlinale Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and others.

I know that most of you have been waiting for a long time to watch the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series. Still, I would like to pay your attention to some interesting movies which you can see within the Black Nights Film Festival programme, which can broaden your horizons and be great examples of both new internationally awarded and classic films.

The first suggestion from my small list is ‘Green Book’.

Why you should go? I wouldn’t have expected the creator of ‘Dumb and Dumber’ to shoot a serious film about problems of race and injustice. The ‘Green Book’, however, is a pretty good film about the journey of a lifetime. A world-class black pianist employs a security guard from the Bronx to accompany and drive him during a concert tour from New York to the South of the United States. In their dangerous journey, they should rely on The Green Book guide suggestions to visit only those places that are safe for African-Americans. The film shows how two men from different background and social strata meet obstacles on their way and put aside differences to confront danger and racism. The film is for those who think that global problems could be demonstrated in an easily understandable and funny manner.

POFF website link: https://2018.poff.ee/films/416632

The second recommendation is ‘Behind the Curve’.

Why you should go? The Internet is a source that provides the outside world with lots of conspiracy theories. Who really killed President Kennedy? Are aliens kidnapping people? These, and many other ideas, are widespread among conspiracy theories lovers. ‘Behind the Curve’ is a documentary film about the Flat Earth Conspiracy Theory and its followers. This movie is an example of a battle between science and some questionable beliefs. It makes you raise some doubts about the facts which you may have truly believed for your whole life. This film presents an important question: how should we treat people that have an extraordinary view on well-known facts? Hence, if you want to know more about the Flat Earth Theory and to broaden your horizons, you definitely should go and watch this movie. But be aware and don’t believe everything you might hear!

POFF website link: https://2018.poff.ee/films/415967

The third film suggestion is ‘Lajko: Gypsy in Space’.

Why you should go? Probably the only thing that you remember from school about the Soviet space programme is that Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. And what would you have thought if I told you that it is not true? The Hungarian creators of the ‘Gypsy in Space’ movie propose to us that Russians wanted to be sure that their astronaut would be safe and sound in space. Because of that, they used the protagonist Lajko to conduct their experiments on him. This well-filmed live-action black humor comedy will be a good way to spend cold and dark evening in Tartu. This movie will produce a positive impact on anyone for sure.

POFF website link: https://2018.poff.ee/films/416514

To conclude, the Black Nights Film Festival provides its spectators with a spectacular movie programme for every taste: classical, historical, horror, new international films etc. The above mentioned movies just come from my own shortlist, but don’t hesitate to check the film festival schedule and choose something interesting and educational for yourself!