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Estonian Cinema

Estonian Cinema

It can be said that the beginning of Estonian films was on 1908, the year when was released the very first Estonian short film, which was about the visit of the Gustav the 5th King of Sweden to the Estonian capital (Tallin). The same year was built the first cinema theater.

The next two decades witnessed the premature beginnings of the Estonian cinema industry and its first film: Shadows Of The Past was released in 1924 under Konstantin Marka’s direction

Furst Gabriel or the last days in Pirita’s Monastery

Furst Gabriel or the last days in Pirita’s Monastery

The 30s crisis and the soviet influence

In the 30s, after the economic crisis hit the US, many private production companies had to shut down. However, at the same time, the biggest film company, supported for the government and called The Estonia Film Culture was being set. The company focused in documentaries production.

As in the majority of the Eastern European countries under soviet influence, the film industry was used to boost the government ideologies, the censorship was imposed and all the releases were strictly supervised by the soviet authorities. It is remarkable that in spite of the pressure, advances were taking over the industry and in 1951, the first color movie, Gerbert Rappaport’s Light in the Kordi was released

After Stalin’s death in 1953, the film industry in was eager for changes and deep changes were made to allow directors a new range of creativity and the opportunity to adapt to the big screen some important literary works. Among the most important some films can be named:  Furst Gabriel or the last days in Pirita’s Monastery , a movie that sold 45 million tickets in all USSR  and  Arvo Kruusement’s Spring, considered by the critics as the best Estonian film ever made.

The Wall effect

With the end of communism, the Estonian film industry gained independency and freedom but lost its good financial status. The government support plunged in such a way that by 1996 just two documentaries were produced.

In 1997, the Estonia Foundation Cinema upgraded the conditions to every worker as directors, producers and actors. Also he helped to improve the movies distribution. With this support, the Estonian films gained international respect and were acclaimed in different films festivals as the Stockholm Film Festival with the movie Georgica by Sulev Keedus in 1998.

Accordingly, within the last years movies such as Names Engraved in Marble by Elmo Nügonen or the comedy Made In Estonia by Rando Patai and released in 2003, achieved impressive recognition out and inside the country, remarkable enough to compete side by side with The Lord of The Rings at the box office.

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Names Engraved in Marble

Names Engraved in Marble

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