Martti Helde’s full-length feature film Scandinavian Silence reached cinemas on March 29. While Estonian film has provided diverse experiences during the jubilee year of the Republic of Estonia, Scandinavian Silence manages to add yet another nuance. The power of this work relies on silence that subtly awakens the feelings inside.

‘Scandinavian Silence’ places great emphasis on nature, in terms of both visuals and meaning. Visually, it is expressed in slow scenes filmed with a drone that flies over winding roads and bleak forests. All of this might be just striking if similar shots had not just recently been used in The Wind Sculpted Land by Joosep Matjus, Eva’s Christmas Mission by Anu Aun and Truth or Justice by Tanel Toom. While it’s clearly good news that during the past year so many people found themselves in the cinema more often than before, these reference moments may take away some enjoyment while watching Martti Helde‘s movie.

However, I applaud the decision to make the film in black and white. It may scare away some potential viewers, but it works well. One layer that is so familiar and characteristic to the movies that you wouldn’t even suspect it in causing any additional noise has been removed. The lack of colours lets you focus on the feelings that are bubbling deep down in the hearts of the characters, tamed masterfully by the actors Reimo Sagor and Rea Lest-Liik.

In fact, while you’re watching this movie, it feels like you should be perfectly quiet not to break that last thread of trust between the two characters. The feeling that you are accidentally witnessing a very personal moment between two people that might be shattered by the smallest shake, has been created very convincingly by the camera work. The illusion of reality is only ruined by a slightly over-elaborated dialogue.

Mick Pedaja‘s music with its restrained power is perhaps the most Scandinavian part of the film. Music that is specially designed for this film supports story-telling, making the mix of emotions more dynamic while also bringing out the brighter shades of it.

One question that still hangs in the air even after watching the movie is – what is this feeling that keeps us holding back our words?

Photo: Press Material