Section: Close Up WWII



Elmo Nüganen
, 2015, 100 Min

Between the fronts. Two brothers come face-to-face in the Second World War, one on the side of the Nazis, the other serving in the Red Army. Elmo Nüganen's action/war film exemplarily shows the fragmentation of Estonian society caused by the double occupation, even if it dispenses with some essential nuance when reaching its culmination.

On the basis of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact negotiated in 1939 the Baltic states were, in the following year, annexed by the Soviet Union. The year after that Nazi Germany invaded the USSR. 50,000 Estonians were forced to fight for the Red Army, 70,000 for the Germans; de facto a civil war of sorts fought wearing the symbols of foreign powers. Neighbours, friends, and family members became enemies. 1944 describes the tragic hopelessness of a country that has come under double occupation. This made the film a box office hit in its country of production. A necessary historical undertaking in which, however, the collaboration with the two occupying powers remains as equally forgotten as the initial warm welcome given to the German invasion, from which the Estonians hoped an end to the Stalinist terror would result. This gives 1944 an undertone of victim mythology that delegates responsibility for war crimes and arbitrary rule exclusively to the outside world. BB

Leo Kunnas
Rein Kotov, Mart Taniel
Juuso Heikkilä, Jyrki Rahkonen
Juuso Heikkilä, Jyrki Rahkonen
Kalju Kivi
Jaak Jürisson
Kaspar Velberg
Kristjan Üksküla
Maiken Schmidt
Kristian Taska
Taska Film Oü +37253926525
Matila Röhr Productions OY
Eda Koeppel, Estonian Film Institute

Michael Werner

Elmo Nüganen -

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