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(The Temptation of St. Tony is being distributed theatrically in the United States by Olive Films and is now available on DVD. It opens at Cinema Village in NYC on September 17, 2010.)

Once upon a time, while vacationing in Estonia, Bela Tarr watched a double-bill of Dead Man and Lost Highway and went to sleep. Then he had a dream. The Temptation of St. Tony is that dream, transferred to black-and-white 35mm celluloid. Okay, maybe it isn’t, but if that concept makes you perk up, Veiko Ounpuu’s blackly comic fever nightmare is bound to deliver. If those references are foreign to you, that might only spice up your viewing experience. Ounpuu opens his dazzling head trip with a quote from Dante’s Divine Comedy, and he goes on to update that story to reflect modern Eastern Europe life at its most comically grotesque. In the film, Tony (Taavi Eelmaa, looking like an odd Estonian hybrid of Reggie Miller and Peter Weller with Jack Nance’s Eraserhead mop-top) is a successful everyman who begins to lose a grip on his life when a series of freak events occur. The journey he embarks upon is filled with one surprise after another, each more increasingly bizarre than the last. While The Temptation of St. Tony is certainly one of those cases where personal taste buds will determine one’s tolerance for the antics on display, to simply know that movies like this are still being financed is a wondrous realization indeed. I haven’t seen Oonpuu’s first feature, Autumn Ball, but after watching this, I’m now more determined than ever to track it down. More than that, I’m anxious to see what he comes up with next. He’s a genuine visionary.

— Michael Tully

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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