Melodrama 'Madwomen' commemorates Estonian cinema's 111th anniversary

"Madwomen - to be a sparrow not a canary." Source: Screenshot

On the occasion of the 111th anniversary of Estonian cinema, the bone-chilling melodrama "Madwomen - to be a sparrow not a canary," directed by Sten Haljak and Johannes Lõhmus, is released.

"Madwomen - to be a sparrow, not a canary" is the story of a housewife who finds herself in situations for which there is no common sense solution. Ada Lundver, Aino Seep, Dzidra Ritenberga, Elle Eha, Ene Rammeld, Marianne Leover, Viiu Harm, and others, shining film heroines of the era, feature in the short film.

Only footage from films produced between 1960 and 1969 at Tallinnfilm and Eesti Telefilm was used to create the film.

"We sifted through 178 films and nearly 100 hours of material to select what we felt were the most original and striking fragments, and to tell a story which, for an array of reasons, did not feature prominently in the plots of the films of that era," the film's director, Johannes Lõhmus, explained.

"This is an experimental collage-film, which has been created by combining the characters, thematic patterns humor and recording errors that inspired us," director Sten Haljak said.

"Reusing shots from well-known films but mainly from lesser-known films, constructing a suspenseful melodrama with different actors portraying the story's protagonist was extremely entertaining", he added.

The short film will be screened for the first time in Tartu, the birthplace of Estonian cinema. The public screening with a meeting with the filmmakers will take place on Saturday May 6 at the Tartu Elektriteatris.

There will be an opportunity to see the film on the big screen as well as meet the filmmakers on May 10 at the Mustvee Cultural Center, on May 13 at the Sõprus cinema in Tallinn and on May 25 at the special "Väärikad kinohommikud" ("Worthy Cinema Mornings") event at the Artis cinema in Tallinn.

From May 10, the film will be exclusively available on the digital home of Estonian film heritage, Arkaader.

"Madwomen - to be a sparrow not a canary," is directed by Sten Haljak and Johannes Lõhmus. The film was edited by Sten Haljak, Jette Keedus and Henri Piiroja. Jakob Juhkam is the composer, Markus Andreas is the sound engineer and Anna Kaarma is the graphic designer.

"Madwomen - to be a sparrow not a canary" has been created using only material from the original films and in cooperation with the Estonian Film Institute's heritage department, the national archives Film Archive and the ERR archive.

The film was made for the 111th anniversary of Estonian cinema in 2023 with the support of the Estonian Film Institute and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.


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Editor: Maiken Tiits, Kristina Kersa

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