Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kevade / Spring

[Kevät]. EE-SU 1970, year of production 1969. PC: Tallinnfilm. P: Kullo Must. D: Arvo Kruusement. SC: Kaljo Kiisk, Voldemar Panso - based on the novel (1913) by Oskar Luts. DP: Harry Rehe - black and white - scope. S: Harald Läänemets. AD: Linda Vernik. Cost: Krista Kajandu. Makeup: Rostislav Nikitin. M: Veljo Tormis. Conductor: Eri Klas. ED: Ludmilla Rozenthal. C: Arno Liiver (Arno), Riina Hein (Teele), Aare Laanemets (Toots), Margus Lepa (Kiir), Ain Lutsepp (Tõnisson), Leonhard Merzin (Laur the teacher), Endel Ani (Julk-Jüri the sacristan), Kaljo Kiisk (Lible the bell-ringer), Rein Aedma (Imelik), Kalle Eomois (Kuslap), Raul Haaristo (Vipper), Heiki Koort (Peterson), Heido Selmet (Visak), Tõnu Alvens (Lesta), Silvia Laidla, Ervin Abel, Evald Tordik jt. Loc: Palamuse, Tallinn, Torma (Jõgevamaa). Tallinn premiere: 5.1.1970. Digital intermediate produced by Digital Film Finland / Finnlab (2006). 35 mm print from Estonian Film 100 viewed with e-subtitles in English at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Estonian Film 100), 20 Oct 2012.

Kevade / Spring, the novel and the movie, belong to the most beloved treasures of Estonian culture. The novel is the first work in the Paunvere trilogy (Spring, Summer, Autumn) by Oskar Luts; there were also Paunvere short stories, and a posthumous work called Winter. The director Arvo Kruusement has made movies of the trilogy (1970, 1976, 1990), the same actors playing the same characters. The dialogue of Kevade has become a part of Estonian folklore.

I saw Kevade for the first time, and I look forward to seeing it again. Impressive features include: - The ensemble playing of more than ten central characters: teen-age schoolchildren and their teachers - The sense of the epoch, the late Belle Époque just before WWI - The fights of the gangs of boys (Estonian and German) bring to mind Ferenc Molnar - The pranks such as drowning the raft - The pain of first love (Arno - Teele - Toots) - The rich flavour of the cinematography - The central motif of the magnificent willow, "my grandfather planted it" - The central motif of the river, the melting of the ice - Teele invites Arno to the new home - the school is out, the summer is there, with flowers, meadows, sunshine.

The print, struck from a 2006 digital intermediate, is clean, and good in close-ups and interiors, but the limitations of the digital process used are evident in the nature footage.

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