"November" is based on Estonian novel "Rehepapp" by Andrus Kivirähk, a bestseller of the last twenty years. The film is a mixture of magic, black humor and romantic love. The story is set in a pagan Estonian village where werewolves, the plague, and spirits roam. The villagers' main problem is how to survive the cold, dark winter. And, to that aim, nothing is taboo. People steal from each other, from their German manor lords, and from spirits, the devil, and Christ. To guard their souls, they'll give them away to thieving creatures made of wood and metal called kratts, who help their masters by stealing more. They steal even if their barns are already overflowing. Stealing is an obsession that makes the villagers more and more like the soulless creatures they command, the kratts. The main character of the film is a young farm girl named Liina who is hopelessly and forlornly in love with a village boy named Hans. Her longing makes the girl become a werewolf and jump into an ice-cold ...
If you like surrealism and dark fairy-tales, and you haven't seen November yet, watch it before reading my review, because I wouldn't want to influence your expectations.
When I started watching November all I knew was IMDb's Drama, Fantasy, Horror categorization. Little did I know that I was about to experience two hours of a beauty so mesmerizing that it would almost bring tears to my eyes.
November is one of those rare cinematic creations that transcends the medium from mere entertainment into a profound work of art. I can think of only a handful of directors that have lifted the art of cinema to this level, such as Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Lars von Trier.
November is a surreal, dark fairy-tale that takes place in a mediaeval Estonian village. The story is a mix of Shakespearean romantic drama and rural folklore that pleasantly reminded me of the magical countryside fairy-tale atmosphere in the works of the Croatian naive art painter Ivan Generalic, as well as the imaginative surreal comics by the Greek-French comic creator Fred (Frédéric Aristidès).
The most breathtaking aspect of November is its cinematography. The film is shot in moody, darkly romantic black and white photography with beautiful lighting and screen compositions.
But November is filled with beauty in multiple layers. A beautiful soundtrack - incorporating Beethoven's Mondschein-Sonate - intensifies the atmosphere, the costumes, sets and overall art direction are gorgeous, and there's even lyrical poetry of a poignant grace. It will be a challenge to create something more romantic than November has established.
Last but not least, the casting and actors are also laudable. The two main female characters radiate a magnetic beauty, and the peasants look like they have been time-transported from an actual mediaeval village.
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