Sorrentino’s Cannes hit wins at Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival.

Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) was awarded the $13,500 (€10,000) EurAsia Grand Prix in the main international competition of this year’s Black Nights Film Festival (Nov 15-Dec 1) in Tallinn.

Italy’s Oscar entry also received the Best Cinematographer award for Luca Bigazzi’s camerawork which the international jury described as being “musically dynamic”.

The jury, which included The White Ribbon’s DoP Christian Berger, Armenian director Harutan Khacahtryan and German actress Franziska Petri, gave its Best Director award to the Japanese director Koji Fukada for Au revoir l’été for its “sensitively observed scenes”.

The Best Acting awards went to Russian actor Maksim Sukhanov for his performance in Konstantin Lopushansky’s The Role and to Juliette Binoche for her role in Camille Claudel 1915.

The jury decided to award the Special Jury Prize ex aequo to two films:

Taiwanese film-maker Tsai Ming-Liang’s Stray Dogs “for creating a complex and unique atmosphere, using original cinematic language”;

and a former Baltic Event project, Paradjanov by Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, “a film that is not only a portrayal of the genius artist, but also the story about the power of art overcoming all the human obstacles”.

Icelandic hat-trick

Benedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses And Men was named Best Film in the Tridens Competition of Feature Debuts from the Baltic Sea and Nordic Countries and also picked up the Best Cinematographer Award for the film’s DoP Bergsteinn Björgulfsson.

Iceland’s Oscar entry scored a hat trick in Tallinn by also being awarded the FIPRESCI Critics Prize.

In addition, the Tridens Competition jury gave a special prize for the most original story to Russian directors Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov’s for Intimate Parts.

Tangerines triumph

The Heave(i)n award for the Best Estonian Film went to the Estonian-Georgian co-production Tangerines by Zaza Urushadze, which also received the International Film Clubs Don Quixote Award.

Tangerines – which had originally been presented as a project at the Connecting Cottbus East-West co-production market – had its international premiere at the Warsaw Film Festival in October where it won the Best Director prize and Audience Award.

The film subsequently receievd the Jury Special Award and Audience Award on its German premiere at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival and is now set to screen at festivals in Chennai, Kerala and Palm Springs, among others.

Other prizes included the Best Film in the North American film competition to Mexico’s Diego Quemada-Díez for La Juala de Oro, the Audience Award for  Felix Van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, and the Black Nights Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award to veteran Hungarian director Istvan Szabo.

A total of 255 feature-length films from 70 countries were screened over the festival’s three weeks to Dec 1, with special focuses on Armenian cinema, Arctic Inuit films from Canada, and the new wave of Mexican cinema under the banner of “Mexico Bronco”.