Sunday, April 29, 2018

Estonian Folklore Stunner

November (2017) - Sarnet
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Weaving several Estonian folklore into the narrative, Rainer Sarnet's black and white shot, darkly comic November is a stunner. It's all mud and shit and grit in a feudal village. People barely survive by eating tree barks and dependent on kratt - a servant made out of inanimate objects from discarded farm equipment which is given a soul by the devil in the forest in exchange for 3 drops of blood. Two young childhood friends Liina (Rea Lest) and Hans (Jörgen Liik) are of marrying age but Hans is enchanted by a German baroness (Jette Loona Hermanis) whose father owns the land and a big manor on the top of the hill. Even though the village witch tells Liina to kill the sleep walking baroness, she can't, because it will break Hans's heart.

November features some stunning visuals - All Souls Day procession where the deads in white are emerging from the forest, marching in unison, story within a story (told by kratt, which happens to be a snowman created by Hans) about Venetian lovers on a gondola, underwater scenes, etc, etc. But really, every frame in the film is gorgeous to look at.

Just like any folklore, the bittersweet unrequited love ends more bitter note than sweet. But November is a real visual feast and certainly worth a look.

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