A festival called Love

  • 2012-07-25
  • By Laurence Boyce

LOVE-IN: Film and music once again enliven Tartu.

TARTU - TARTuFF, the annual celebration of film in Tartu, once again brings cinematic gems to the city, most of them with the bargain price of 0 euros.
Now a popular fixture in the Estonian university town, the Tartu Love Film Festival (tARTuFF) is set to screen a number of intriguing features and documentaries, from Aug. 6 - 11. There’ll be 12 feature films screening for free in the Town Hall Square, whilst the Athena Center will be screening documentaries at 2 euros a ticket.

After a screening of Georges Melies’ 1915 film “A Trip to the Moon” (one of the most influential films of all time made by one of the pioneers of cinema), the festival will open with “Vuosaari” (“Naked Harbor”). This Finnish film from director Aku Louhimies – who directed the dour festival hit “Frozen Land” – is a modern love story. Following the lives of a group of people in the suburb of Vuosaari, it’s an episodic piece about the need to be loved and feel a part of life - all set to a Robbie Williams soundtrack. It’s certainly an eclectic film with lots going on, and Louhimies is a consistently interesting filmmaker ensuring the film will certainly provide an appropriate opener for a festival filled with love. Louhimies will be in attendance alongside Estonian actress and singer Lenna Kuurmaa.

There’s more love in the brilliantly fun and quirky “Beginners,” which stars Ewan McGregor as a man dealing with the loss of his father whilst tentatively beginning a new relationship. This is a whimsical film, full of asides and funny jokes alongside some more serious points about life in the 21st century. McGregor is great, but Christopher Plummer deservedly won an Oscar as the father who decides to come out despite being in his 70s. It’s a genuine and joyful film and those who enjoy their American independent cinema will find this something of an infectiously fun and sometimes moving affair.

After its positive reception at this year’s Cannes Festival, eagerly awaited will be “Moonrise Kingdom” from Wes Anderson, best known for such films as “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Darjeeling Limited.” Suffused with a nostalgic sensibility, the film tells the story of a boy and girl who decide to run away with each other and the town that is turned upside down searching for them. Starring the likes of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Ed Norton, it’s a film that is full of gentle humor and clever ideas.

Other films to look out for include the animated Spanish film “Chico and Rita,” about a singer and piano player falling in love in 1940’s Cuba, and “My Brother The Devil,” a powerful and hard hitting film about British Arabs trying to survive in the heart of British gangland London. Love will be also examined in two classic films which couldn’t be any more opposite to each other: First up will be “The Bodyguard” the fondly remembered slice of early ’90s melodrama starring the late Whitney Houston as a singer who must be protected by Kevin Costner. It’s a typical Hollywood affair, but 20 years on, there’s still an earnestness that makes this fun, if not entirely believable. Then you have “Natural Born Killers,” the searing and violent indictment of the mass media starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. It’s lost none of its power and it’s a brilliant and scathing attack on values and morals and – sadly – is still relevant today.

Documentaries include a daily dip into the Estonian archive for some classic films from the past and “The Nine Muses,” a striking and elegant documentary that combines archive footage and wintry shots of Alaska to speak about the experience of moving to the UK as an immigrant in the 1960s. Also worth checking out is “Au Pair,” an illuminating film about three girls from the Philippines leaving their homes to find work as nannies and domestic help.

Aside from films, there’ll be lots of music as tARTuFF links up with Tallinn Music, which will fill the bars, cafes, galleries, parks and courtyards in Tartu with the hottest new music from Estonian bands and artists. The first ever Tartu Music Week will be held on Aug. 9-10, alongside with a design market, exhibition and music industry seminar held in Tartu Center for Creative Industries, which will also be the music festival center and information point.

Music and film. If you keep your fingers crossed for sun, then there might not be a more perfect combination.

For more information about tARTuFF visit http://2012.tartuff.ee/
For more information Tartu Music Week go to www.tartumuusika.ee