Film Archive

Jahr

In Bed with a Writer

Documentary Film
Estonia
2019
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Marju Lepp
Manfred Vainokivi
Manfred Vainokivi
Kersti Miilen
Manfred Vainokivi, Peeter Sauter
Horret Kuus
A friendly, beer-bellied gentleman in boxer shorts and glasses slouches on a couch behind a big shop window in the busy historic city centre of Tallinn. He greets the puzzled, giggling passers-by, along with a simple cardboard sign in the corner of the window that says “Begging for Love”. This nice man next door is the Estonian writer Peeter Sauter. And when he writes, he’s not nice, he provokes with coarse language. He feels close to Charles Bukowski, but as an Estonian writer he’s enough of an outsider.

Sensitive, honest and delicately staged, Manfred Vainokivi encounters this man in his late fifties and in the middle of a writer’s and life crisis in his film. Sauter still sees himself as a little boy, but after a divorce his concern now is which woman could be interested in an old, fat man. He philosophises in the nude, sitting in front of the washing machine with a bottle of beer. The artistic provocateur reveals a deep romantic longing. He exposes himself to comic and irritating role-playing games to reach new horizons of experiences: sleeping on his parents’ grave, learning striptease and modelling for a racist photographer and his terrible motifs. In all his melancholy, Peeter Sauter still walks towards life: “Do you know anyone, who’s gotten anywhere just by thinking?”

André Eckardt

Rodnye (Close Relations)

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Germany,
Latvia,
Ukraine
2016
112 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Simone Baumann, Guntis Trekteris, Natalya Manskaya, Marianna Kaat
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Aleksandra Ivanova
Pēteris Ķimelis, Gunta Ikere
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Over the past few years, Vitaly Mansky’s own voice has found its way into his films again and again. He is a laconic commentator, deliberately factual and yet not without emotions. He wishes he had never been forced to make this film. This is how “Rodnye (Close Relations)” begins, his report of the eventful year between May 2014 and May 2015. For the Ukraine – the subject of the film – it was the most important year since World War Two ended: an ongoing political earthquake that left no stone standing and – to stick to the metaphors of social seismography – opened deep rifts between the people. Mansky’s balancing act does not lead to just anybody but to his nearest relatives. His birthplace in Lviv is the starting point of a journey that has much to offer. Surprise: his mother speaks Ukrainian; his great uncle is still alive – in Donbass! But also disappointment: the aunts – one of them living in western Ukraine, the other on the Crimea – have stopped talking to each other. And shock: his cousin’s son was drafted, which in late 2014 carries a deeper meaning.

Mansky himself has now moved out of his home near the Kremlin and lives in emigration, like so many others. There’s no place for nostalgia in his still disintegrating “home country”, his film teaches us – an attempt to approach the issue by a man who’s deliberately growing more and more estranged.

Barbara Wurm


Nominated for MDR Film Prize