Euronews writes that ‘In The Crosswind’ is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Estonian cinema in 2014, and it is causing a stir at film festivals around the world.
The brainchild of Martti Helde, the art house film deals with a subject that is very sensitive for many Estonians: Soviet Russia’s ruling to deport more than 40,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to Siberia in June 1941. Filming took the young Estonian three and a half years. Why? Because Helde took the radical decision to film in black and white and stage almost the entire film in still images. With 13 such still shots, it took between two and six months to prepare each scene, culminating in one day of shooting. The ‘June deportation’, as Helde calls it, still evokes strong emotions in Estonia. And almost every family has a story to tell. When making ‘In The Crosswind’, the filmmaker worked with letters from relatives and friends, and other archive material. He put them together to tell the story of a young mother, who is separated from her husband and deported to the uninhabited territories of Siberia. At 27, Helde is the youngest director to present a film at the 2014 Black Nights Festival in Tallinn. His movie is competing in the International Competition and is in the running for the Tridens Estonian Film Award. It is also his feature debut as he explained to Euronews: “The idea actually came from one precise letter. It was the first one I read. There was a line: ‘I feel like time has stopped here in Siberia. That my body is in Siberia, but my soul is still in homeland’,” Helde said. “Then it struck me that I wanted to make a film when everybody or the time has stopped. To recreate the feeling that those people in Siberia felt. “I wanted to take away the freedom of the audience, so they can’t choose where to look, where is the focus point. So this kind of recreation of this feeling was the main idea,” added Helde. ‘In The Crosswind’ has already been shown in Toronto, Warsaw, Thessaloniki, Mannheim and other festivals. Further festival appearances are scheduled in the near future.