World Cinema Series: The FencerPG

World Cinema Series: The Fencer

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  • Mon 19 Jun
  • 99 minutes
  • Director: Klaus Haro
  • Cast: Mart Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp, Lembit Ulfsak
  • Finland/Estonia (2015)


World Cinema Series: The Fencer (Finland/Estonia)

Based on the life of Endel Nelis


"Well acted, smoothly crafted drama" Variety

Oscar & Golden Globe Nominated - Best Foreign Film

Winner - Munich International Film Festival; Black Nights Film Festival; Arras Film Festival

"Strong performances and luscious to look at" The Guardian

A young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia (then part of the Soviet Union) in the early 1950s, having left Leningrad to escape the secret police. He finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students, where he starts teaching them his great passion – fencing. Disapproving, the school's principal starts investigating Endel’s background. Meanwhile, Endel's friend (and coach) Alexi warns him not to return to Leningrad under any circumstances.

Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children, and Endel becomes a role model and father figure. He learns to love the children, many of whom have been orphaned as a result of the Russian occupation. When the children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, Endel must make a choice; risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them.