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Any films about the Baltic countries?

We're headed for a few weeks in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia this summer. I'm really looking forward to it.

I've always been fascinated my maps, history and obscure places (well, obscure to most people I know). I also grew up during the cold war. I know at least a little about these places we're going (superficial knowledge for sure, but compared to my peers...). On the other hand, my wife (who trusts me to do a lot of our trip planning) knows virtually nothing about these places, can't find them on a map (facepalm...), struggles to name a city in each, and her questions to me often include the phrase "wait - which war was that in?" To her credit, I have previously led her to lots of places she had never heard of before we went there (Orkney, Cagliari, Aït Benhaddou, Sukoton, and a long list of others).

She has generally loved those previously-obscure-to-her places and goes with an open mind and a willingness to embrace adventure. She also enjoys the reaction from her co-workers (who are more aligned with going to places like Las Vegas and Orlando):

Where are you going on your trip? (long pause). WHERE? (long pause). Um...where is that? (very long pause) WHY?

I like that too.

That said, I'd love to find some films we could watch together to give her at least some notion of what to expect in these curious little Baltic nations. So far I'm not finding many.

We did just watch an Estonian film called "The Fencer" which we both enjoyed (it helped when I pointed out that we would be passing through Haapsalu, the town where the film is set).

Can anyone here recommend any (other) films set in or about Estonia, Latvia or Lithuiania? Thanks!

Posted by
908 posts

This is cheating a bit, but there’s an episode of Wallender (Kenneth Branagh version) called The Dogs of Riga that was filmed on location.

Posted by
135 posts

"The Singing Revolution" about Estonia

"Between 1986 and 1991, the people of Estonia protested against their Soviet occupiers in large rallies. Although these protests were fundamentally peaceful, the Estonians used a weapon powerful enough to rattle an empire: song. Patriotic songs, to be precise, which the Soviets had outlawed in Estonia. Thousands upon thousands would assemble to sing in defiance. This documentary unveils the story of a population that stood up against their oppressors with nothing but their voices and their pride."

Posted by
5011 posts

This is cheating a bit, but there’s an episode of Wallender (Kenneth Branagh version) called The Dogs of Riga that was filmed on location.

Not cheating too badly. I just added this episode to my Netflix queue,

I'm not familiar with the series. I'm assuming that just dipping in to a random Season 2 episode won't be too strange.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by
5011 posts

"The Singing Revolution" about Estonia

I think I may have seen a different documentary about this on PBS years ago. I added this one too.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by
55 posts

First of all: while I have only visited Lithuania in the Baltics, I absolutely adore it. I hope that you enjoy your trip, and I highly recommend getting out into the countryside or smaller towns, though the cities are lovely. Nida on the Curonian Spit in particular is beautiful, and echoes of the Soviet past remain if you're interested in Cold War history.

Not sure where it might be available, but friends who live in Lithuania treated me to a viewing of How We Played the Revolution (Kaip mes zaideme revoliucija) last time I visited. It's a documentary about the Singing Revolution leading to independence, and very well done. (We also watched Redirected... it may not be to your taste comedically, think Guy Ritchie, and I'm not sure I would say it's exactly "about" Lithuania.)

Ashes in the Snow was released recently (or maybe not even out yet in the US?), so I have not yet seen it, but it's on my list to watch. It's set largely in Siberia, but is about deported Lithuanians, set in 1941.

Posted by
504 posts

It may not be what you had in mind, but "1944" is an Estonian World II movie. It depicts Estonians fighting with the Nazis against the Communists and fighting with the Soviets against the fascists. It's available on Amazon.

Also, all the videos shown at the Museum of Occupations in Tallinn can be viewed from their web site: http://www.okupatsioon.ee/index.php/et/collection/exhibit-movies

Posted by
2164 posts

The Fencer was excellent, saw it last summer at an art house theatre in Berkeley and everyone clapped at the end.

Posted by
5011 posts

Just watched "The Singing Revolution" last night. Beautiful story, very inspiring - nice film. Thanks for the rec.

Posted by
135 posts

Glad you liked it! I found it very moving. The Baltics are on my "to visit" list - take good notes while you are there 🙂

Posted by
1834 posts

Yes David, please post a trip report when you return. No trip reports that I have seen, except Tallin, on this forum for those countries. I like off the beaten path places too!

Posted by
5011 posts

please post a trip report when you return

Will do. End of July.

Posted by
1 posts

You can try forest brothers and mystery beneath on your trip
Please if you got more share with me them
thanks and best of luck for future trips

Regards

Rainierland

I too am heading for the Baltics in a short time. I read the Man Who Spoke Snakish that takes place in Estonia. It's not a travel book at all, but about times when people were moving out of the forests to villages. Supposedly there is a board game based on the book. I'll look for it on my trip.