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Letters from the East

Anna Ewa Froling Rein Mark Womack Young Mother/Marie Ingeborga Dapkunaite Alan Nicholas Le Provost Young Mr. Kaleva Rein Oja Old Mr. Kaleva Mikk Mikiver

Anna Ewa Froling Rein Mark Womack Young Mother/Marie Ingeborga Dapkunaite Alan Nicholas Le Provost Young Mr. Kaleva Rein Oja Old Mr. Kaleva Mikk Mikiver

With: Gertrud Talvik, Gerli Nurmsalu, Marta Laurent, Hanns Zischler.

(English, Estonian, Russian dialogue)

A woman returns to her native Estonia to unravel the complex mysteries of her family’s past in “Letters From the East.” Set in 1989, against the background of the Baltic territory’s struggle for peace and independence from the Soviet Union , this sluggish, solemn drama is more earnest than emotionally satisfying, and seems best suited for small-screen programming. Pic recently entered commercial release in the U.K.

Having fled Estonia as a child during World War II, Anna (Ewa Froling) has grown up in England with her devoted father (Mikk Mikiver). When he dies, she discovers old letters and photos that reveal more about their origins than he ever told her, fanning her hopes that the mother she believed dead may have survived the war.

Seen in flashbacks, Anna’s mother (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) became separated as the family boarded an evacuee ship under Red Army attack.

Writer-director Andrew Grieve sketches Anna’s detachment from her life, career and relationship in England, slowly replacing it with the discovery of her true cultural identity.

The experiencesof Estonian-born producer Ene Vanaveski served as basis for the story.

Letters from the East

(BRITISH-GERMAN-FINNISH)

  • Production: A Beyond Films presentation of a Lantern East (London)/Lichtblick Flimproduktion (Hamburg)/Axel Films (Helsinki) production in association with British Screen Finance, Eurimages, Finnish Film Foundation, Hamburger Filmburo, Svensk Filmindustri, Nordic Film and TV Fund, Europcan Co Production Fund, European Script Fund. (International sales; Beyond, Sydney.) Produced by Enc Vanaveski Executive producers, Steve Walsh, Jamie Brown. Co-producers, Niklas Eklof, Stefan Andersson. Directed, written by Andrew Grieve. Camera (color), Ian McMillan; editor; Derek Bain; music, John Keane; production design, Bernd Lepel; art direction, Julian Fullalove; costume design, Andrea Galer; sound (Dolby), Jussi Vantanen; line producer (in Estonia), Peeter Urbla; associate producer, Nigel Gostelow; assistant director, Martin Harrison. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 22, 1995. (Also in 1996 Edinburgh Film Festival.) Running time: 105 MIN.
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