ESTONIAN-BORN DIRECTOR WITH INGRIAN ROOTS IS SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SOVIET UNION

21. 9. 2021, 10:00
MFF Praha - Febiofest

DIRECTOR LAURI RANDLA BROUGHT HIS FILM GOODBYE SOVIET UNION! – A KINDLY SATIRICAL TAKE ON CHILDHOOD IN PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES, WHICH IS COMPETING IN THE AUDIENCE-JUDGED COMEDY COPETITION – TO FEBIOFEST

The Estonian-born director, who is a proud member of the Ingrian-Finnish minority, now lives in Finland. “I don’t have Estonian citizenship anymore, so there was some doubt as to whether I’m still Estonian enough to get Estonian funding for our film. Luckily, this question kind of faded away over time,” the director noted. Actress Nika Savolainen and set designer Jaana Jüris also came to Prague to present the film.

A debate with viewers followed the screening of the film, which tells the story of a young boy who goes on an adventurous trip with his hippie mother at the time of the collapse of the USSR. Several audience questions concerned the Ingrian minority. “The Ingrians had a relatively quiet life in the USSR until the 1930’s. But then came Stalin’s purges, which only those who were successfully Russified could survive. Their language started changing at that time, so today the old Ingrian Finnish is mixed with Russian. It sounds pretty weird – when my classmates heard my grandmother speak, they thought she had been impacted by radiation or something,” said the director, who grew up in a Soviet town with a nuclear weapons manufacturing industry.

His grandmother’s story is also the inspiration for his next project, a mini-series titled Kilometer 101. “During the USSR era, people marked as ‘enemies of the state’ had to keep a distance of at least 101 km from larger cities,” the director explained the title and added a peek into the plot: “The Ingrians lived not far from Leningrad. They were forced to Russify, then the Germans sent them to Auschwitz during the war, then to forced labour camps, then they said they were Finns – so in the end these people found asylum in Finland. After the peace agreement between Finland and the USSR, they had to go back, though, and they ended up in a Soviet prisoner camp… So get ready for an easy-going road movie.

The last screening of Goodbye Soviet Union! at Febiofest is scheduled for 22 September, 21:30h.


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