Estonia

Elmo Nüganen – 1944 (2015)

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. Read More »

Grigori Kromanov – Viimne reliikvia AKA The Last Relic (1969)

A medieval love story with lots of adventures. The times are troubled – there’s a revolt of peasants going on. To secure its safety a monastery chases for a relics of a holy Brigitte. A nobleman promises to get it if he gets beautiful Agnes as a reward. But she fells in love with a handsome adventurer. The monastery has to act shrewd now and play double game. The movie is still the best achievement of the Estonian cinema. Based on a novel. Read More »

Ilmar Raag – Klass AKA The Class (2007)

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Plot summary:
Introvert Joosep is the butt of crude jokes from his classmates who are irritated by his taciturn nature. The only support he has comes from Kaspar, whom he sits next to in class.

Quote:
This isn’t a sociological probe into the theme of adolescent bullying which might turn violently against the perpetrators, but more a universal reflection on the darker sides of the human soul, often hidden beneath an attractive exterior, ready to provoke an unexpected reaction under excess pressure. The acting performances of the leads, in particular, give the story – a linear progression where silly pranks develop into a tragic outcome – a highly credible dimension. Read More »

Veiko Õunpuu – Püha Tõnu kiusamine AKA The Temptation of St. Tony (2009)

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Quote:
There’s no better cinematic praise than to be evocative of Béla Tarr’s tour de force Werckmeister Harmonies. And The Temptation of St. Tony is just that. Veiko Õunpuu has weaved an existential rumination on Eastern European temporality, where work is waiting and waiting is work, and a visually stunning critique of the exacerbation of difference that post-communist times have to offer. A nouveau riche class fascinated by its newly imported sense of sophistication and superiority is so in love with itself that getting a glimpse of the lower classes is as unbearable as staring at Medusa right in the eye. Read More »

Robert Wilson – Arvo Part: Adam’s Passion (2015)

Adam’s Passion is the moving first collaboration between two “masters of slow motion who harmonize perfectly with each other” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). In the spectacular setting of a former submarine factory, American director and universal artist Robert Wilson creates a poetic visual world in which the mystical musical language of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt can cast its meditative spell. Three of Pärt’s major works – Adam’s Lament, Tabula rasa, and Miserere, as well as Sequentia, a new work composed especially for this production – are brought together here using light, space, and movement to create a tightly-woven Gesamtkunstwerk in which the artistic visions of these two great artists mirror each other. Read More »

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. Read More »

Martti Helde – Risttuules AKA In The Crosswind (2014)

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“Risttuules” is very emotional and tragic movie about mass deportation to Siberia based on memories of Erna. It all started 14th of June 1941 when trucks came for the innocent families with their children where they headed to train station and later by animal wagons to Siberia. “How to survive hunger, cold, humiliation, losing friends and freedom, but still keep living on, when almost all hope is lost?” Read More »