November

November (the word is the same in Estonian and English) is an Estonian art film that was released in February 2017. Mystical, strange, and beautiful, it may represent a new direction in Estonian filmmaking, an industry that has often been dominated by films about Estonia’s many occupations.

November is based on the novel Rehepapp by contemporary Estonian author Andrus Kivirähk. The story combines Estonian pagan mythology with Christian themes: werewolves, kratts (little creatures known for stealing), and souls. The main character is Liina, a girl who lives in a small Estonian village and is in love with Hans, a local boy. She’s willing to give up her life for this love. The village is otherwise a depressing place where most people are just trying to survive the winter by any means necessary, including selling their souls to kratts, who guard them and exchange help their masters by stealing for them. According to the film’s official website, “The pragmatic farmers are faced with a question: is the life that they’ve won through so much toil worth anything, if it lacks a soul?”

The film was chosen to compete in the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2017, in the International Narrative Competition category. This will be its international premiere.

The film was produced in Estonia by Homeless Bob Production, an excellently named studio that has been producing artistic films in Estonia since 2006. It was a joint production with the Polish studio Opus Film, an international studio best known for winning a 2015 Academy Award for its film Ida.

 

Director: Rainer Sarnet
Stars: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Dieter Laser, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Arvo Kukumägi, Heino Kalm, Meelis Rämmeld
Production companies: Homeless Bob Production, Opus Film

 

The official trailer:

 

November

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.