In the Crosswind (2014) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
11 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
bitter poetry
Kirpianuscus30 June 2018
...not only beautiful. or painful. or moving. but useful. for the artistic virtues, off course. but, more important, as remember. not only about the Baltic tragedy. but for each people moved far by his homeland under Soviet regime. Tatars, Bukovinians, Polish, Basarabians. the splendid grace of image. the fine performance. the sound of words. and wise use of letters. a sort of magic. in fact, just key. for define the Eastern recent past .
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Profundity apparently not for everyone - prior knowledge recommended
BeneCumb4 April 2015
For non-Balts who intend to see this film or have seen it by chance, could be a useful background, otherwise many events or action could remain incomprehensible, or one might think they are exaggerated. Alas, everything depicted is realistic, but Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union has never essentially apologized or amended injustice - on the contrary, respective attempts by the restored Republics have been labelled nationalistic or rewriting history...

The film in question has found a distinct angle for depicting the mood: using black-and-white and tableau vivant, also appropriate music. Of course, due to limited amount of feature film characteristics, it is not "easy" to watch and follow, not to the taste of those fond of fast shots and twists, thus not expected to attract wider audiences. But, in my opinion, it is definitely more distinct than the Academy Award winner Ida from Poland... And the director has not reached 30 yet! So, if you are prepared how and what to see, then you will have a good watching experience. Otherwise, watch e.g. Purge (2012).
18 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beautiful imagery belies a sinister history
Blue-Grotto12 October 2014
Snowfall in a birch grove, a woman toying with the ribbon of her dress, and wild apple blossoms radiant in the sunlight. The beautiful imagery belies a sinister history in which tens of thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians were forcibly removed from their homes, separated from loved ones, starved and abused at the hands of the Soviet Union and Stalin. Many were exterminated. The world rarely notes those whose suffering endured long after World War II ended. In black and white tableaux vivants that are at once beautiful as they are tragic, and with passages from actual letters, audiences may begin to understand what happened here. "I promise I won't ever be mad at you again," a woman writes to her husband who, unknown to her, is among those put to death. "Just tell me how to find you," she pleads. The brutal ethnic cleansing is presented in such a way, through the personal experience of Erna and her little daughter Eliide, that is as spellbinding as it is sobering and sorrowful. The history lesson comes not in the form of a harangue, but is one of haunting beauty in requiem for the innocent tears and blood. "I see how you looked at me when we first met," a woman writes of a dream "and I hear your voice telling me that we will be together forever." In this brilliant piece by a new director, these enthralling voices will finally be heard and remembered. One of my favorite films, also known as Risttuules, at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
29 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unique Filming Style Shows Literally How "Lives Stood Still"
vsks15 April 2015
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.
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Made to be contemplated, as every work of art is intended to be.
Vikingbyheart8 July 2016
75 years ago, in the early hours of June 14, 1941, more than 40,000 people were deported from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. That was the beginning of mass banishments to Siberia and other remote regions of the USSR promoted by the Soviet authorities. Under secret orders of Stalin, this operation was aimed to remove dissidents of the socialist regime from their home countries to quell any opposition, and promote ethnic cleansing of the region. Among these thousands of deportees was Erna Tamm (Laura Peterson) and his family (daughter and husband). The movie Risttuules (original title) or In the Crosswind (in English) was inspired by the letters of Erna written from Siberia to her husband, Heldur (Tarmo Song), from whom she was separated by the Soviets.

In his first movie, the estonian director Martti Helde was bold in its proposal: to make an art film, in black and white, through the technique of tableaux vivants, to photographically recreate the memories described in the letters. As opposed to the traditional cinematographic narrative, the tableaux vivant makes use of static shot, in which the characters stand still as the camera slowly travels through the environment. The observed time is frozen, allowing us to focus the subtle details of each scene as well as the expressions of the actors and their body language. Everything leads us to believe that we are facing a common photographic representation, which is only denied by the wind moving some objects, such as clothing, branches and leaves or sheets of paper. The voice-over of Laura Peterson complements the recreation of those memories describing events and the feelings of the protagonist.

Erna Tamm led a normal and happy life with her family until the war came into their lives. To portray this radical and abrupt change the time started to elapse in another dimension, being marked by the composition of tableaux vivants images. And it remained so until the end of this tragic and distressing period in the life of the protagonist, when the war came to an end. Throughout this journey we take notes of the Soviet cruelties, with the deportees being transferred in inhumane conditions inside animal wagons, suffering humiliations, being subjected to forced labor, hunger, cold, aside from the lost of relatives, friends and above all, their freedom. The soundtrack and ambient sounds help to characterize the mourning atmosphere and the melancholy of the film: almost all hope was lost.

The human tragedy experienced by the inhabitants of the Baltic countries resulted in more than 590,000 victims of the holocaust during the Soviet occupation. With the break up of the USSR, Russia, its successor, aside from maintaining a rhetoric that denies the crimes committed, even glorifies the Soviet past, its leaders, symbols and actions.

Aesthetically impeccable, made to be contemplated, as every work of art is intended to be, and with a slow pace, In the Crosswind is definitely not a film for the general public. The way it is narrated flee from the ordinary way and might not please everyone, causing strangeness and monotony in some viewers. Far beyond the story that is intended to be told, the film provides an unique sensory experience that is at the same time sad but beautiful.

Originally posted in:
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
very good, provided you know the local history
wrv-1685831 May 2017
'Risttuules' is a film from Estonia, a Baltic country uncomfortably located in Eastern Europe. Close to Russia.

In 1918 Estonia got independent; in 1940 the country was occupied by Stalin, in 1941 by Hitler, and in 1944 again by Stalin. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Estonia regained its independence.

This film symbolizes the deportation of more than 500.000 Estonians in June 1941 by Stalin. This happened eight days before Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. It tells the story of a broken-up family, based on genuine letters from the wife to her far-away husband. They would never be re-united.

'Risttuules' is a typical East European film: a fairly slow pace, allowing everyone to take its tragic story in to the full. But what really shines out here, is this film's picturing: very beautiful, and done in a great East European style.

To appreciate this film to the full, I think it necessary to have a knowledge of the complicated 20th-century history of Eastern Europe. And about the mentality & style of its peoples as well. Without these ingredients, in my opinion you will miss too much.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Extremely boring
petper1 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After 10 minutes I was so bored I wanted to finish the movie. But having read the review points I had to assume it would become better. I didn't. It is an endless row of black and white still pictures completely destroying an otherwise interesting story. But it is supposed to be "art" and since I do not need to pretend that I am a cultural person I can give my sincere opinion.
1 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Camera expresses the humanity affected by holocaust
tgkohn3 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This black/white film successfully blends narrative style with artistic cinematography to depict the 1941 Soviet expulsion of native Estonians to labor camps and extermination camps in Siberia through 1945-1949.

The opening and closing sequences in pre-holocaust days consist of silent action over a spoken letter of a woman to her husband. As the expulsions start, the voice-over letter reading continues while the camera moves through tableaux of still figures, ever weaving as the populace is taken by cattle cars to Siberia and the labor camps. Every deprivation gains greater force through the expressive camera and its exploration of dozens of people involved in each event.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bad movie, Stop watch it
rebbase22 January 2020
Had to watch at school. Noob movie make me sleep.

0 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Originality and art but essentially the disheartened reality of mankind
billybigelow10 July 2016
I am from Brazil, a country opposite to Estonia in any aspect you may consider - size, latitude and longitude, climate, culture, ethnic identity - but this 'Risttuules' is a touching masterpiece here, there and certainly everywhere. People in one of the most tragic and absurd historical period of our times are presented through absolutely astonishing images, art essence performing their sorrow and desperation. In a certain way, by its quality, precision and integrity, 'Risttuules' reminded me polish 'Ida', another exceptional film from a ex-communist regime country. But reality in this case is transcended by theatrical poetry. It is not indeed a film for wider audiences but for those who praise cinema and mankind destiny.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It is actually not a usual movie but more like watching a photo album
viljar-kahari7 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If you are going to see this movie then be prepared that this is not a usual movie but more like watching a photo album for 1.5 hours. Such idea is great but as the tempo is extremely slow then it was quite annoying. The content of the plot is very deep and emotional but the story is too simple, foreseeable and therefore boring. As my grandparents were also deported then I expected much more details and historical overview about this terrible historical occurrence but I got nothing. I have read and heard how bad it was in Siberia but this movie did not pass it on so well. OK, there were some unpleasant pictures but these were too polite considering what actually happened and how Estonians were treated during deportation and in Siberia. Anyway, it is different "movie" and you have to be emotionally prepared to watch it.
11 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed