Classic comedies by Ernst Lubitsch in St. Catherine's Church


PÖFF continues its cooperation with Tallinn Old Town Days and German Culture Spring with The Lubitsch Touch - Ernst Lubitsch Film Festival that will take place from 2 to 8 June in the St. Catherine's Church.

Estonian viewers will have the first chance to see the works by German-US film director Ernst Lubitsch who was called 'giant' by Orson Welles and 'prince' by François Truffaut. The programme includes silent films from his German period as well as lavish musicals and comedies made in the USA. Films from 1918 to 1942 will be accompanied by a recent documentary about the life and work of Lubitsch in Berlin.

The opening film of the festival is "I Don't Want to Be a Man" (1918) with superstar Ossi Oswalda in the gender-bending role of a girl in man's clothing. This silent film that was lost for 80 years has now been discovered and will be accompanied by live music by Estonian musicians. Historical epic "Anna Boleyn" (1920) brings on screen together the most popular stage couple of 1920s, Emil Jannings and Henny Porten. With eccentric comedy "The Oyster Princess" (1919) Lubitsch found his unique style that brought him fame and recognition all over the world. His satirical comedy "The Wildcat" (1921) was not appreciated at its time as too modern, but is highly praised nowadays.

Lubitsch perfected his 'touch' in Hollywood, where he worked since 1922. In this film festival we offer you three comedies that have become classics. "The Merry Widow" (1934), based on an operetta by Franz Lehar is a prime example of Lubitsch's many musicals. It also won an Academy Award for production design. Five years later came "Ninotchka", a legendary comedy where Greta Garbo does the impossible - she smiles. Clever comedy that mocks the Soviets is considered Lubitsch's best film. The closing film of the festival is probably the best-known 'touch' by Lubitsch. Nazi occupation in Poland should not be a reason for laughs, but "To Be or Not to Be" (1942) is universally considered the funniest film by Ernst Lubitsch for the courage to tackle serious issues through laughter. American film magazine Premiere voted this film as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time" in 2006.

The works of the prolific director are thoroughly discussed and illustrated in the documentary "Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin" (2006) where colleagues and friends comment primarily Lubitsch's films of his Berlin period.

All films are in English or with English subtitles.

Single ticket 75 EEK, discount ticket for students and pensioners 50 EEK.
Festival pass 450 EEK, discount pass for students and pensioners 300 EEK.
Festival pass in advance sale until 1 June 300 EEK

Tickets will be on sale in all Piletilevi ticket counters, cinema Sõprus and half an hour before the screening at the St. Catherine's Church (Vene 12, Tallinn).

Organised by: Black Nights Film Festival and Goethe-Institut / Tallinn

Supported by: US Embassy, Embassy of Germany, Ministry of Culture of Estonia, Tallinn Old Town Days

prg. mart kalmo