November directed by Rainer Sarnet has been submitted by Estonia to represent the country in the best foreign-language film category at the 90th Academy Awards. Shot in black and white, the film is an adaptation of the novel “Rehepapp” by Andrus Kivirähk.
“The director’s perseverance is admirable, as is his courage in presenting this witty and weird, but also romantic and mysterious movie to the audience. It’s a pleasure to observe the role of nuanced camerawork in creating a magical universe, supported by ingenious art direction,” reads the official explanation of the selection committee. “It is also commendable that the filmmakers have chosen to cast interesting types who have had no previous acting experience.”
The selection committee praised the film’s tasteful score, that adds to the overall mystique of the film and helps to create a faceted and telling impression of a quirky nation from the North, trying to make its way through life in a bizarre connection with nature and parallel worlds; to escape the swamp of stagnant folklore to find a way to the sun, poetry and love.
November starring Rea Lest and Jörgen Liik, is an adult fairy-tale with a story taking place in a pagan Estonian village, where greedy and callous villagers are taking on the Plague, the Devil, and various demonic entities. A young peasant girl Liina is hopelessly in love with Hans, who has only eyes for the pretty young lady of the manor. Liina’s life is further complicated by her father demanding a fixed marriage to a foul-mouthed older man Endel.
November internationally premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the best cinematographer award for Mart Taniel. It was also selected to be shown in the official selection of the Karlovy Vary IFF and has been shown at numerous other festivals.