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Baltic Love

An intermittently touching trio of tales set in the three newly independent Baltic states in 1991, "Baltic Love" is strictly fest fare. Three geographically distinct episodes show the messy repercussions of Soviet occupation on twentysomethings who want only to live and love.

An intermittently touching trio of tales set in the three newly independent Baltic states in 1991, “Baltic Love” is strictly fest fare. Three geographically distinct episodes show the messy repercussions of Soviet occupation on twentysomethings who want only to live and love.

In “Estonian Spring 1991: Mattias and Ann,” young Mattias is the last Estonian political prisoner to be freed from a Moscow hoosegow. His wife Ann, an actress at the Tallinn theater where he also worked, has meantime taken up with another man. With disarming candor, Ann delivers a sweet speech about how she remade her life without meaning to.

In “Latvian Summer 1991: Regina and Sergei,” Russian paratrooper Sergei is enjoying a sincere cross-cultural idyll with Latvian sweetheart Regina, but two patriotic buddies — who saved his life after he was left for dead in Afghanistan — intercede. Animosity between occupier and occupied is well-conveyed and love is not permitted to conquer all.

Third and clumsiest episode, “Lithuanian Autumn 1991: Vytatutas and Juozas,” concerns a virginal seminary student drawn to a stripper from Tallinn when her “Jazz and Sex” revue plays a local hotel. His priest uncle tries counsel, but nephew delivers an embarrassing speech comparing his beloved’s body parts to biblical spices.

Film has a washed out, muddy patina which lends an almost home-movie style intimacy. One unifying factor is characters’ reluctance to speak Russian. Male and female full-frontal nudity is smoothly integrated and could be a selling point in certain markets, although pic’s thrust is political and emotional.

Baltic Love

(FINNISH-ESTONIAN)

Production: A Filminor (Helsinki)/Exit Film (Tallinn) production. Produced by Heikki Takkinen. Directed by Peeter Urbla. Screenplay, Urbla, Heikki Makela, Takkinen.

Crew: Camera (color), Jukka Lampinen, Mait Lepik, Priit Grepp, Juha-Veli Akras; editor , Elyi Oras. Reviewed at Rouen Festival of Nordic Cinema (competing), Rouen, France, March 13, 1994. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: With Andres Noormets (Mattias), Carmen Mikiver (Ann), Liana Upeniece (Regina) , Sergei Vartschuk (Sergei), Dainius Kazlauskas (Vytatutas), Katri Horma (Juozas)

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