South Korean film The Throne takes home the Grand Prix at Tallinn Black Nights
by Laurence Boyce
- The historical epic has garnered the main prize at Estonia’s A-list film festival
At a "Black Carpet" awards ceremony held in Tallinn’s Nordea Concert Hall on 27 November, South Korean film The Throne by Lee Joon-ik took home the Grand Prix of the 2015 edition of the Black Nights Film Festival.
Receiving its international premiere in the festival’s main competition, the film is a historical epic with shades of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. Put forward as Korea’s entry for the 2016 Academy Awards, the film follows a compelling murder mystery in the Korean royal court in 1762.
The jury said the film, which also received the Award for Best Music, is a “perfect example of how the remote historic events in one particular country, in this case Korea, can be used to create not only a powerful and beautiful historical drama, but also a modern film that touches the hearts and minds of contemporary spectators”. The jury comprised Iranian filmmaker Niki Karimi, Denmark’s Apollo Music head of communications Jonas Bjørn Olsen, Italian photographer Fabrizio Maltese, Georgian filmmaker Georgi Ovashvili, US HFPA board member Serge Rakhlin and Polish actor Jerzy Stuhr.
Best Director went to Vitaly Mansky for his well-regarded documentary Under the Sun [+see also:
interview: Vitaly Mansky
film profile], which is an intimate study of life in North Korea. The film also garnered a Special Jury Prize. Isaka Sawadogo snagged Best Actor for his performance in the Netherlands' Oscar entry The Paradise Suite [+see also:
film profile] by Joost van Ginkel, while Best Actress went to Martha Canga Antonio for her role in the controversial Belgian film Black [+see also:
interview: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fal…
interview: Martha Canga Antonio
film profile] by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Over in the festival’s First Features Competition, the Grand Prix went to Colombian film Nacimiento by Martin Meija Rugeles. Peyman Shadmanfar nabbed the Award for Best Cinematographer for Soheila Golestani’s Two, and Tristan Dewey and Tai Jordan received the Award for Best Music for their work in Paul Ireland’s Pawno. In the meantime, the Estonian Film Award went to the historical drama The Fencer [+see also:
interview: Ivo Felt
film profile], a co-production between the host country, Finland (the film is the Finnish Oscar entry) and Germany, directed by Klaus Haro.
Finally, the Audience Award went to Victor Dement’s The Find (Russia), and the FIPRESCI Award was bestowed upon the debut film Nacimiento, with a Special Mention for Iglika Triffonova’s The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and His Son [+see also:
interview: Iglika Triffonova
film profile]. Other parallel prizes included the Ecumenical Jury Award for The Paradise Suite, with a Special Mention going to Tom Shu-Yu Lin’s Zinnia Flower (Taiwan), as well as the NETPAC Award, which went to Yeremek Tursunov’s Stranger (Kazakhstan).