Divers in the Rain

Divers in the Rain (Tuukrid Vihmas) is an Estonian short animated film from 2009. It’s black and white and about a half-hour long, though with very limited dialogue. It was created by Priit Pärn, one of Estonia’s most lauded contemporary animation directors, in collaboration with his wife, Olga Pärn.

Pärn’s cartoons are generally not aimed at children, and Divers is far from being a children’s cartoon; it’s a bit dark and sad. It tells the story of a married couple of which one works during the day—as a diver—and the other at night, as a dentist. The film won a truly large number of prizes—18!—from festivals and contests in Europe and farther afield. It is said to have won the most awards of any Estonian animated film ever.

Pärn is an interesting figure in Estonian animation and the art world more generally. He got his start working with Rein Raamat, who is generally known as the first creator of Estonian animated films and whose work began in the 1970s. But Pärn’s individual work took a turn away from Raamat’s more educationally oriented films, into a darker and more surreal style. Pärn’s first independent film, from 1997, was Is the Earth Round? (Kas maakera on ümmargune?) His 2003 Frank and Wendy (Frank ja Wendy) may be of particular interest to American audiences—it tells the story of an American spy couple who are exiled to Estonia. The Russian magazine Stengazeta describes Pärn as as “derisive philosopher and dark paradoxist.”

Pärn is also a visual artist in addition to a film director, and his work has been exhibited all over Europe. Olga Pärn also works as a director, writer, and film editor.


Creator: Priit Pärn, Olga Pärn
Production company: Eesti Joonisfilm


The full film:


Divers in the Rain

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.