"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...
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Piera Degli Esposti,
"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?"Written by
Unique Filming Style Shows Literally How "Lives Stood Still"
If ever a movie deserved to be called an art film, this 2014 Estonian film is it (trailer). Director Martti Heide's full-length debut chronicles Stalin's 1941 sudden overnight deportation of 40,000 citizens of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to forced labor camps in Siberia. Families were separated, people worked in slave-labor conditions, food was minimal, and many starved. No food was provided for children. The story, based on a real-life diary, follows the experiences of Erna, a young wife and mother (played by Laura Peterson) desperate to reunite with her husband Heldur (Tarmo Song) and return home. While the story is perhaps typical for people in such brutal circumstances, the way of filming it is not. Heide took months sometimes to set up his shots, which are filmed in long, unedited, silent takes (with a soundtrack of gunshots, trains, creaking cartwheels, and so on added later). But the people do not move. Nor is there dialog. Peterson narrates in voice-over the entries from Erna's diary, as a series of letters to Heldur. Instead of action, the camera weaves among the actors, as they stand frozen in position. In an early scene, it circles Erna and Heldur embracing among the passengers waiting to be herded aboard a train, then moves on through the crowd. Then it finds Erna again, leaning out of the cattle car door, looking for Heldur, who stands in the distance. Watching this movie is like examining a series of richly detailed still photographs. Remarkable. The technique symbolically mimics the way life stood still for the refugees. While it results in a slowly unfolding story, for me, the film was very powerful. Only when Erna is at home, in the beginning scenes and in reverie, do people move in a conventional way. To paraphrase what one refugee said, the Soviet Union might have my body, but my heart (what animates me) is still in Estonia.
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