Elmo Nüganen – Nimed marmortahvlil AKA Names Engraved in Marble (2002)

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A friend lent me this film a number of years ago and I remembered liking it very much, but as years went by I was never sure if I liked it because it was a good film or because of fond memories of the friend. I recently got hold of it once again and, have seen it again, realise this is a fine film that deserves to be much better known that it is.

The film is set in Estonia in 1918, as the country fights for indepedence. My guess is that knowledge of the conflict might add more enjoyment to the film, but it’s not essential. The film follows a group of students who volunteer to fight for their country. The narrative concentrates on Henn Ahas, one of the students but not the leader, who is played in a wonderful performance by Priit Voigemast. In fact the performances are all uniformly superb, and the script is tight and switches effectively between scenes of war and more human elements of the story. This is a fine film, which works both as a moving story of comradeship and as a military drama. Continue reading

Elmo Nüganen – 1944 (2015)

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Wiki:
1944 is a 2015 Estonian action war drama film directed by Elmo Nüganen. The film first premiered in February 2015 in Berlin, Germany before its release in Estonia [4] and other Northern European countries. It was selected as the Estonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

The film is set in 1944, during the Battle of Tannenberg Line (25 July – 10 August 1944) until the Sõrve Peninsula Battle of Tehumardi (October – November 1944) and is shown through the eyes of Estonian soldiers who had to pick sides and thus fight against their fellow countrymen. Choices have to be made, not only by the soldiers, but also by their loved ones. The film thus focuses on the individual in the context of the war rather than war itself, and shows the war from both perspectives – those of the Estonians in the Red Army and in the German Army. – Continue reading