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Fleeing from the Russian secret police, a young Estonian fencer is forced to return to his homeland, where he becomes a physical education teacher at a local school. The past however catches up and puts him in front of a difficult choice.

Director:

Klaus Härö

Writer:

Anna Heinämaa
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Märt Avandi ... Endel Nelis
Ursula Ratasepp Ursula Ratasepp ... Kadri
Hendrik Toompere Sr. Hendrik Toompere Sr. ... Principal (as Hendrik Toompere)
Liisa Koppel ... Marta
Joonas Koff Joonas Koff ... Jaan
Egert Kadastu Egert Kadastu ... Toomas
Ann-Lisett Rebane Ann-Lisett Rebane ... Lea
Elbe Reiter Elbe Reiter ... Tiiu
Jaak Prints Jaak Prints ... Principal's assistant
Kirill Käro ... Aleksei
Lembit Ulfsak ... Jaan's grandfather
Leida Rammo Leida Rammo ... Boarding house's hostess
Raimo Pass Raimo Pass ... Officer
Erkki Tikkan Erkki Tikkan ... Officer
Maria Avdjushko Maria Avdjushko ... Clerk in Leningrad
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Storyline

Fleeing from the Russian secret police because of his controversial past, a young Estonian fencer named Endel is forced to return to his homeland, where he begins to train a group of young children in the art of fencing. The past however catches up with him and Endel has to choose between letting his students down or putting his life in danger. The movie is partially based on the real life story of an Estonian fencer Endel Nelis (1925-1993). Written by Mattias Aabmets

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Inspiring True Story of Endel Nelis, Estonia's Legendary Fencing Master See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site | See more »

Country:

Finland | Estonia | Germany

Language:

Estonian | Russian | Armenian

Release Date:

21 July 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El esgrimista See more »

Filming Locations:

Haapsalu, Estonia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€1,605,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,572, 23 July 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$95,543, 11 January 2018

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,458, 20 August 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish candidate for the best foreign language film in 2016 Academy Awards. See more »

Goofs

Real-life Endel Nelis did not have a beard. See more »

Connections

Featured in 73rd Golden Globe Awards (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intriguing Estonian film starts well but it loses momentum in the second part.
27 March 2016 | by Andy-296See all my reviews

Based on a true story, this Estonian film (directed by a Finn) the film is set on 1952, when that country was under Soviet occupation. A man named Endel (Mart Avandi) arrives to a small Estonian town from Leningrad. He is obviously on the run from Soviet authorities, though we never get to know much of the back story. He presents himself to a school asking for a teaching job. He is given the physical education class, only problem is the school has no sporting equipment for the children. One day he finds in a drawer at the school a fencing sword and he starts playing with it. A girl sees him and asks him to train her in fencing. At first he refuses, but eventually announces in the school board there will be a fencing class on Saturday. To his surprise, a lot of students appear on Saturday, wanting to learn fencing. Despite his lack of charisma, the fencing classes are successful, even though they are disliked by the school director who see the sport as a remnant of a feudal past, but is outvoted by the school's parents. Eventually, Endel is so successful in training the children that he is invited to a tournament in Leningrad. The problem is that going there could blow his cover.

This is not a perfect film, it starts well, but it loses momentum in the second part. The Russians and their collaborators in Estonia (like the school director) are caricatures. And in parts of the movie, the story seems undeveloped, as when Endel starts a relationship with a woman teacher in the school.

There is a cameo as a politically persecuted grandfather of one of the boys in the school of Lembit Ufsak, who starred in the more interesting Oscar nominated Estonian film Tangerines.


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