Film - Feature | April 18 | 8:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
In 1950 Estonia, the Soviets are working to suppress a fledgling resistance movement that has arisen in the countryside. Six-year-old Leelo cant quite understand exactly why her mom has been arrested or why her father is disappointed to hear her championing the young pioneers she sees marching at school. With a deft balance of humor, tension, and empathy, Siimetss debut shows how the evils of authoritarianism can come cloaked in appealing guise for those too young or gullible to know better.
The Little Comrade offers a world of contrasts with the bucolic beauty of the natural world and sun-dappled forests in stark opposition to the oppressive regime that prevails. Citizens disappear, opposition is silenced, and resistance seems futile, but within the family there is also warmth, music, and the desire to make the most of every day. Attractively photographed by Rein Kotov, The Little Comrade favors sunlight over darkness, hope over despair. It is a simple, affecting story that remains constant to a childs naive point of view and its emotional tug is sincere and heartfelt.Allan Hunter, Screen Daily