Truth and Justice (Tõde ja õigus), adapted and directed by Tanel Toom, has been selected by the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) as Estonia’s candidate for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. Additionally, for the first time, an Estonian documentary Ksenia Okhapkina’s Immortal is also eligible for an Oscar, after having won the Grand Prix for the Best Documentary at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
“It’s a great honor to be chosen to represent Estonia with a film based on a masterpiece by Tammsaare. It’s a recognition to all of the filmmakers involved and their effort of bringing the story to life – once more, thank you all.” Toom said.
According to the selection committee, Truth and Justice proved with its record-breaking viewership that the film is important for Estonians because it touches us deeply. Regarding the positive aspects of the film, the committee mentioned a well-adapted screenplay that retains the tension throughout, but also a beautiful visual style, characters of biblical stature, and a solid ensemble cast. „We liked that the film was emotionally charged and it wasn’t being downplayed into a farce with a jokey style or irony,“ the committee concluded. Four out of seven committee members voted for Truth and Justice whereas three opted for Scandinavian Silence.
The story of Truth and Justice, adapted from the first book of the titular series of novels by Anton Hansen Tammsaare, follows the uncompromising new owner of the Robber’s Rise who must battle with hard work, his spiteful neighbor and his own beliefs in order to transform the poor land into a flourishing farm of his dreams, and bring truth and justice to this godforsaken place.
Immortal, shot on location in an industrial city of Russia’s Far North, explores what it is that makes people to voluntarily disavow their personality and become a national resource. Can a person be free at all in a society where complex and shady state structures control their thoughts since early childhood?