The best (ahem, and only) Baltic films of last year
Tana oosel me ei maga
Dir: Ilmar Taska
One of only two Estonian feature films last year, this was the debut for director Ilmar Taska. It tells the story of four people who become bound by a mysterious murder on a summer night in Tallinn. Starring Estonian super-model Carmen Kass, the movie received a number of negative reviews in Estonia and abroad for the lack of edge-of-the-seat tension and poor editing.
Revolution of Pigs
Dir: Jaak Kilmi and Rene Reinumagi
This is Estonia's Oscar entry for best foreign language film. It is difficult to imagine this garbled gobbledygook making it to the finals. Despite a brief insightful moment, the movie lacks focus and leaves the viewer feeling bewildered and confused.
But the Hour is Near
Dir: Juris Poskus
This fascinating documentary follows two evangelists around the streets of Riga. Eriks' and Daniels' preaching is unbelievable reality come to glorious life. Poskus provides ample proof that truth is certainly stranger than fiction. It's arguably one of the best films in any genre in the Baltics over the last 10 years.
Dir: Janis Streics
This Latvian film is about a middle-aged couple experiencing a midlife crisis. The husband and wife are tired of life together and start to forget the love they once shared in their youth. Sadly, "Roses of Autumn" is a rather boring and incompetent film.
Dir: Laila Pakalnina
The superb acting by theater director Mara Kimele isn't enough to get this rather lackadaisical story soaring, though the cinematography by Gints Berzins is professional in every way. Pakalnina's best work remains her 1998 film "Kurpe" (Shoe).
A Land of Glass
Dir: Janina Lapinskaite
This was the only Lithuanian feature film last year, and tells the sad story of a young woman's alienation and stifled suffering after she gives birth to her second child. "A Land of Glass" is a fine example for every aspiring cinematographer. The excellent camera work compensates for the somewhat flat performances and skewed script.
Dir: Giedre Beinoriute
The main characters in this lively short are two crazy old women who drive an original velomobile, a young photographer who shoots weddings and funerals, and a sexy girl whom he has just met. The old women ponder death, the young couple eternal love. Promising stuff.
Dir: Inesa Kurklietyte
This intriguing documentary follows Lithuanian midwife Jurga Svedien?, who has helped deliver 445 babies into water, from Crimea to California. Some women deliver their babies in bathtubs, some in pools, some in the middle of the woods, while the midwife strives to create a pleasant atmosphere through candles, scents and lullabies. Bizarrely mesmerizing.