12 November 2013

Screening Program: Little House in the Periphery

Screening Program: Little House in the Periphery
Kinokino, Sandnes
-Choose Order, 2004, dir. Andreas Maimik
-New World, 2012, dir. Jaan Tootsen
-Alyosha, 2008, dir. Meelis Muhu
-A Monument to Please Everyone, 2011, Kristina Norman
documentaries, director talk
part of the Estonian Dream project

How often do you get the opportunity to watch Estonian documentaries all day and talk to some of the directors in Sandnes? Not often enough.

Kristina Norman and Meelis Muhu

In a screening program part of the Estonian Dream project, we got a great pick of critical documentaries from Estonia.

First the classical mockumentary Choose Order, where the political choices of a rather populistic right-wing party that suddenly appeared on the scene are taken to the extreme. By carrying out the rules literally, the irony shines through and reveals the short-sightedness of the rules. This has been a classic in Estonian documentary.

Then on to New World, a wonderful story about idealistic people wanting to make their neighborhood a little bit more friendly. But it is difficult keeping idealism alive while some neighbours complain about the music, the police comes around to see all documentation, and the landlord wants the rent to be paid in time. More about the movie and the movement here.

Then on to a documentary by one of the directors present. "Alyosha" shows the background, the climax and the aftermath of the "Bronze Soldier riots" in Tallinn in April 2007. The conflict grew as a result of different views of Estonian- and Russian-speaking citizens, symbolized by a war monument in the center.

And in the end Kristina Norman's story of erecting a new war monument, the Freedom War Monument at the Freedom Square in Tallinn. We follow the story of two young engineers that suddenly won the competition for the monument, and how this rather controversial sculpture was finally put on its place, fulfilling both the expectations of war veterans and high officials.

Kristina Norman and Meelis </p><p>Muhu

The following talk with the directors Kristina Norman and Meelis Muhu gave further insight into the topics. Both have an impressive knowledge through their wide range of video/art. I had a long, but very interesting and informative day in the comfortable seats of the cinema at Kinokino.

What struck me was how well the movies fit together. One movie showed us how easy it is to erect a monument, another one how difficult it is to tear one down. Or rather, how difficult it is to add symbolic value and mythology into a monument, and how difficult it is to take it away. One movie showed how easy it is to change the world if you are under the wings of important people, and another one how difficult it is if you are not, even if you have the best intentions.