Black comedy - Development 2008

When your President is imprisoned by Stalin, somebody has to free him. A simple fireman named Erik finds himself in charge of the rescue mission, with folk dancing as his only weapon.

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Black comedy
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Jaak KILMI
    • Writer(s)
    • Urmas VADI
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • Erik is a fireman in Estonia. In year 1940 as a prelude to its war with Germany, the Soviet Union annexes Estonia and arrests Estonia’s President. In these troubled times, Erik finds his friend and colleague Johannes murdered for being involved with the Estonian underground resistance movement. Swept along by events, Erik finds himself recruited to step in for his deceased friend and carry on the fight for independent Estonia. Unlike his predecessor, Erik has no training in covert methods. Erik receives the bare minimum of instruction – his mission is to join up with an operative group, which will then travel to Siberia to liberate Estonia’s President. The plan is to take him to neutral Switzerland, where the government of Estonia can be formed in exile. Erik also inherits Johannes’s false identification – the internal passport of an Estonian ballet master, yet Erik also knows nothing about ballet. Thus he must improvise in two roles he knows nothing about – as a member of a secret operative group and as a ballet master. His group travels to Moscow under cover as a folk dance ensemble and in the train already they must prove themselves. Against all odds, their performance is a success, arousing the interest of the mysterious and beautiful Jelizaveta Filippovna. She makes the group an offer they cannot refuse – to tour the Soviet Union with her as their manager. In the process, she falls in love with Erik. But at the same time, she regularly reports to a stone-faced Red Army general, who follows the group’s every move with great interest. Erik’s team finally manages to make its way to the psycho-neurological prison, where the President has been held the whole time with a mental case who thinks he is the Russian Tsar Nikolai II. Jelizaveta organises their next show in town, and Erik’s men use that as a diversion to break into the prison. The President has in the meantime been forced to take medication and this confinement has had an adverse affect on his psyche. By the time Erik’s men reach him, the President refuses to go to Switzerland, denies the possibility of Estonia’s independent existence without Russia, and proposes that they go to America instead, where the President claims to have millions stashed away. Sadly, Erik’s men realise that they are too late to save the President, and they leave him in the prison. With nowhere to turn for further instructions, Erik takes up the role that the President can no longer fill. Yet instead of escaping to Switzerland, he returns to his homeland to secretly spread the spirit of resistance among the people. By holding on to their folk dance traditions, the people persevere through decades of occupation until the spirit of independence can again rise from the ashes.
    • Partners & financing
    • EFF, Cultur Capital
    • Beginning of shooting
    • May 01, 2009