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Letters from the East

  • Film

Time Out says

Writer/director Grieve's story of self-discovery and self-determination in occupied Estonia is a worthy take on recent Estonian history, personal and national. With a timespan book-ending 45 years of Soviet occupation, the story cuts between the 1944 exodus of thousands of refugees before the advancing Red Army, and the strengthening of the national independence movement in 1989. In the latter year, London-based cellist Anna (Fröling) discovers among her late father's effects photographs and correspondence from Estonia which stoke her curiosity about the real fate of her mother, supposedly a casualty of the family's flight from the country when Anna was eight. Had her father been hiding something? Against advice, she returns to her birthplace; followed by local film-maker Rein (Womack), she slowly, awkwardly, begins to uncover her heritage against a background of emerging nationhood. With a capable pan-European cast, Grieve's keen eye for a view, Ian McMillan's equally arresting photography, and Dvorak on the soundtrack, this has its virtues; dramatically, however, the film falls down. Anna's investigation typically involves a succession of fruitless and repetitive interviews with obscure locals; and the flashback structure is hackneyed and confusing, never fully convincing us that these are Anna's memories rather than just the film's.
Written by NB

Release Details

  • Duration:107 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Andrew Grieve
  • Screenwriter:Andrew Grieve
  • Cast:
    • Ewa Fröling
    • Mark Womack
    • Ingeborga Dapkunaite
    • Märta Laurent
    • Rein Oja
    • Mikk Mikiver
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