Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baltic Consciousness: Sügisball

Sügisball (2007) - Õunpuu
Through Veiko Õunpuu's lenses, Estonia seems to be a fitting new setting for films about alienation of the modern society. His miserablist drama is filled with ugly buildings, construction sites. But it is also speckled with absurd humor and shot exquisitely. Most of characters are vulnerable so they resort to hurting people who are close to them. Only stable person is a gigolo doorman Theo(Taavi Eelmaa) who keeps a log of his conquests. But he ultimately finds himself a victim of the class differences. Õunpuu proves himself to be a romantic here though. At the core, his sensibilities have more in common with the privileged. His hopeless romanticism is stretched farther in his more experimental The Temptations of St. Tony. Both of which I find somewhat naive.


  1. you wanna expand on the "somewhat naive"? cos i've seen the temptation, and man, naive is one thing that this film is not. may be you've got a little "disdain towards cultures in the periphery of this world" thing going on there...

  2. Disdain toward cultures? No. It's in his romantic tendencies (which was elaborated in the Temptation) I find him naive. Sügisball has an unrealistic happy ending for our heartbroken writer, of whom I read as Õunpuu personified and whom I identify myself the most with. A selfish fool.

    He equates capitalist class dynamics with relationships. In Temptation, however fable-like the story is, Tonu's infatuation with a lovely factory girl ends in cannibalism which is the other end of the spectrum. There is inane desire to destroy what you can't have. You 'consume' what you love.

    I feel there are overgrown children inside his characters. When I say naive, I mean it in endearing way. I'm not a total miserablist myself but I found the ending of Sügisball not befitting the entire film. And even though I like to identify with characters, I want to see someone wiser than myself on screen from time to time.

  3. I was thinking about titling it Relationship Comedies?: Sügisball instead of Baltic Consciousness, both from the film's dialog. Since 'Baltic' is too pointy and might give readers a wrong impression, should I change it?