Tag Archives: Estonia

November (2017)

Director: Rainer Sarnet
Based on Rehepapp ehk  by Andrus Kivirähk
Starring: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser, Jette Loona Hermanis. Estonia. 1h 55m

I’d like to think that I don’t award too many 10/10’s although I am always searching for perfect films and I believe I have just found another one, possibly the one. There’s so much to fall in love with in Sarnet’s November, based on a deeply chrasamisc novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk who’s possibly one of the most influential folk writers since Estonia’s classical epic Kalevipoeg and is just as extraordinary.

The film starts out curiously, a cow skull mounted on farming tools is captured rolling and creaking across the landscape using a chain it steals a cow, by grabbing the beast and flying into the air like a folklore chopper, the mechanism lands with the cow, on a farm miles away across the forest, the owner coming out to retrieve the animal and kicks the machine away, but it talks to him, asking for more work so he gives it an impossible task and it explodes. This “thing” is a Kratt and you’ll see a lot of these throughout the movie, and you can see the Kratts screen test here (https://vimeo.com/66493993)  

The villagers find it hard to survive throughout the dark Estonian winters and often end up stealing from each other and the German nobility who are taking over their lands. In order to make a Kratt the villagers first have to go into the forest and make a pact with the devil written in blood in His book. Continue reading November (2017)

Tangerines – Mandariindi (2013)


Tangerines – Mandariindi (Drama, History, War 2013) (Not Rated) D: Zaza Urushadze W: Zaza Urushadze: C: Lembit Ultsakm, Elmo Nuganen, Giorg Nakashidze, Misha Meskhi 1h 27m. Estonia, Georgia.

Synopsis: War in Georgia, Aplchazeh region in 1990, An Estonian man, Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines, In a bloody conflict at his door, a pair of wounded soldiers are left behind and Ivo takes them both in.. But they are not comrades.

Tangerines landscape

Dark poetic film from director and writer Zaza Urushadze, Ivo; a farmer and father, is the true hero, rescues two solders after a short burs of combat outside of his modest home, realising they are on opposing sides, he along with his neighbor and fellow tangerine picker Margus (Elmo Nüganen) takes on the duty to heal both men and in turn gains their respect, loyalty and trust. All Ivo wants to do is harvest his tangerine crops, in a similar vein as Mr Majestyk (1974) Ivo, alike to Charlie Bronson has a dedication to fairness and fruit, except Ivo is a bit more passive with his persuasions.. Tangerine challenges the dark of humanity and groundless prejudices, in a flawless, crisp and magnificent manner, the cinematography and music perfectly enhance the deep human drama that unfolds as Ivo and his neighbour risk everything to heal both soldiers, both physically and help to heal the mental damage and restores some basic morals with the young men who adopt him as a pseudo father. The film delivers many poignant messages; it’s bittersweet, simplistic and has a novel back-story that is embroidered through the scenes of the two soldier’s colourful insults. The ignorance and often-faceless enemy of this civil war becomes very real and exposed as brittle lies and laid to rest, as a father would deal with two bickering children. All of this is presented in a gorgeous broad landscape, with so many metaphors to look out for in this profound film, I can’t praise it enough.


Rating : 10/10

R: Father of a Soldier (1965), Leviathan (2014) Ida (2013), JSA (2000)

L: Selected Estonian Films, War Films, Farmers in Films, Beautiful Landscapes

Q: Ivo “Killing a sleeping man when he is unconscious, is a sacred thing too? I didn’t know.”

TIL: Always respect your elders.

BS: When the solders think their argument has angered Ivo (after they have both started to respect him) and he leaves the dinner table, then a disembodied voice assures them that Ivo is only pissing and isn’t upset. Another breathtaking scene is when Ivo is explaining how he will see the actor put on a play after the war, that gleam in his eyes as his reminiscing isn’t something you capture on film all that often and is marvellous.

5B: Lembit Ultsakm

DGI: Not really the best for drinking games however you could knock a shot for every tangerine picked and for every insult thrown for each other soldiers.