Estonian director brings Japanese love stories to shores of Lake Peipus

"8 Views of Lake Biwa." Source: Press materals

The first trailer for the movie "8 Views of Lake Biwa," which translates traditional Japanese stories into the language of the longings and desires of the Old Believers, who live near Estonia's Lake Peipus. The movie, which was directed by Marko Raat, is due to be shown in cinemas from February 9 next year.

According to a press release, the eight views is an Eastern artistic tradition that describes humans' state of mind through eight poetic motifs. These include evening glow, snow, sails returning in the evening, rain, the autumn moon, temple bell, clear breeze and wild geese departing. In Japan, these elements are interpreted primarily in the area surrounding Lake Biwa.

These motifs provide the framework for eight intertwining tragic love stories set at modern Old Believers' fishing villages near Lake Peipus, which stand on the edge of Estonian-Russian settlements and culture. The Old Believers are Russians who fled to Estonia in the late 17th century due to persecution in Russia.

The film's screenplay is based on a book of the same name, written by German author Max Dauthendy and published in 1911. An Estonian language version of the book was released in 2005.

"Archetypal stories are universal, but the more remote the country, the more liberating and refreshing it is to see yourself through another culture," explained director Marko Raat.

"It's pure playfulness, like children when new dolls are taken out of the box. We have an almost mythically personal relationship with Japan, from the grandfather who fought in the Russo-Japanese war, who is part of every family's folklore, to the belief that we, here on the 'western fringe,' have not completely banned impractical longing or melancholic beauty either. As (Former Estonian President) Lennart Meri once said: 'Japan is our neighbor.'"

Marko Raat's previous movies include "Kitchen Triptych" (2018), "Fast Eddy's Old News " (2015) and "Toomik's Movie" (2008).


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Editor: Michael Cole

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