That’s IT!: First Estonian 'folk film’
by Laurence Boyce
2012. The world is about to end in just a few hours, and Estonians must decide how to spend them. Rait (Tõnu Õllek) decides that he will seek out pop-singer (and childhood friend) Lenna (Lenna Kuurmaa) to profess his love. His best friend Mihkel (Märt Koik) – thanks to a blow on the head – decides that sacrificing Lenna to the sun gods will halt the end of the world. As they embark on a trip across the country to find her, they bump into Brenda (Ester Korkiasaari), a girl chased by orderlies from an insane asylum, Ervin, the world’s last lottery millionaire who curses his luck at winning with only one day on Earth left, and numerous other weird and wonderful characters.
This is a low-fi affair (budgeted at €100,000), the creation of which has led to a sometimes uneven but never less-than charming small feature. While sometimes more like a series of sketches than a complete narrative, there are a number of moments of inspired slapstick (including a lovely ‘chain reaction’ sequence that leads to horrible consequences for one character) while the occasional use of animation to link scenes and introduce characters is often inspired. The film never takes itself too seriously (with the voice over gleefully dismissing some of the more obvious lapses in continuity) and the acting – while varied – is done with enthusiasm. However, the film’s later moments are rather weak, and those who watch it without knowing the entire story of how it came to be may be less than kind.
With plans to widen the film’s scope beyond Estonia, there should be a spark of interest from international festivals though – again – the film only really works when shown in context with its creation. But, while sometimes flawed and rather scrappy, there’s a heart to the film that makes for a charming experience.