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Known and unknown Estonian film

INIMESED SÕDURISINELIS / PEOPLE IN SOLDIER’S UNIFORMS
LIBAHUNT / WEREFOLW
HULLUMEELSUS / MADNESS
KEVADE / SPRING
MIS JUHTUS ANDRES LAPETEUSEGA? / WHAT HAPPENED TO ANDRES LAPETEUS?
NIPERNAADI / HAPPY GO LUCKY

Documentaries:
LEELO
TALUPOJAD / THE PEASANTS
KODUKÜLA / THE HOME VILLAGE
511 PAREMAT FOTOT MARSIST / 511 BEST PHOTOS FROM MARS

The 1960s in Estonian film
For the first time at Black Nights, we present a programme on Estonian films both known and unknown, devoted to the films of the 1960s. Yes, the golden 1960s…. The world had had time to recover from World War Two and was in full flower. In America, flower children enjoined us to make love, not war, expressing their opposition against the involvement in Vietnam. Estonia was shut behind the iron curtain of the Soviet Union.
But although Brezhnev came to power in 1964, Khrushchev had thawed the ice of Stalin a bit, and the thaw extended all the way here, too.

The 1960s were noteworthy years for Estonian film-making. Or rather –only from the 1960s we can really start talking seriously about film-making in Estonia. Everything before that – starting in 1912, when Johannes Pääsuke’s film about test pilot Utoshkin’s flights above Tartu – contains beautiful experimental material, but was more of a formative period. In the 1950s, Arvo Kruusement and Kaljo Kiisk returned from studying in Moscow, and they were followed by others. Despite the ideological pressure, a whole number of films based on Estonian literary classics were produced in the 1960s.
The titles came out one after another: “Põrgupõhja uus Vanapagan” (The Misadventures of the New Satan), “Mäeküla piimamees” (The Mäeküla Milkman), “Mis juhtus Andres Lapeteusega” (What Happened to Andres Lapeteus), “Libahunt” (Werewolf), “Inimesed sõdurisinelis” (People in Soldier’s Uniforms), “Keskpäevane praam” (Noonday Ferry), “Viini Postmark” (Vienna Postage Stamp), “Hullumeelsus” (Madness), “Viimne reliikvia” (The Last Relic), “Kevade” (Spring) and more. “Madness” was banned from distribution in the Soviet Union. It was shown in Estonia, but then consigned to the shelf for years and rediscovered only when independence was regained. Jüri Müür captured the 1969 song festival – the 100th anniversary, the big one – but his film “Leelo” was heavily censored and had to be remade. Only now has the director’s cut been found – and by combining the various materials the original film has been restored.

Estonian films have to be looked after so that they would not fade into obscurity. Old films need a makeover and digitalisation so that they can be enjoyed today as well. The project Estonian film 100 embarked on this work two years ago. This time we are presenting Kaljo Kiisk’s restored version of “Nipernaadi” (Happy Go Lucky, 1983), and in doing so marking the late director’s birthday – he would have been 82 – as well as the 60th birthday of Tõnu Kark, who plays the part of the eponymous rambler and folk hero.

Let’s hope that the retrospective of Estonian films becomes a tradition and that restoration of the films will continue. The vault of Estonian films contains plenty of material to work on.

Annika Koppel
Estonian film 100, Project Manager













prg. mart kalmo