Deals with the devil, adhoc supernatural mechanical beings, shape-shifting, and elegant cinematography all help bring Rainer Sarnet’s Estonian folklore film to life. November, based on the Novel, Rehepapp, by Andrus Kivirähk, is set in an impoverished 19th century Estonian town as it prepares for a visitation from deceased ancestors.
It quickly becomes apparent that supernatural forces rule the fabric of this reality just as much as greed and lust. A dichotomy exists between the deeply devout townsfolk and their sinful desires and eagerness to sell their souls to the devil. Their desperation guides them both to enlightenment as well as their demise.
November‘s opening scene sets both the bizarre tone of the film as well as identify a major conflict for the characters. They style and sequence of the opening scene reminds me of the opening sequence from Fellini’s 8 1/2, an avant-garde dream-like sequence sending characters into the sky only to plummet back down to earth.
In 8 1/2, the asphyxiation dream sequence primes us for his trapped and lost state of mind, where as, November is priming us for the townsfolk’s struggles with self-reliance.
November has a unique aesthetic that is molded by the crisp black and white cinematography by Mart Taniel as well as entrancing performances and characters.
Directed by: Rainer Sarnet
Cinematography: Mart Taniel
Written by: Andrus Kivirähk (Novel) & Rainer Sarnet
Edited by: Jaroslaw Kaminski
Starring: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Jette Loona Hermanis, Arvo Kukumägi, and Dieter Laser.
Runtime: 1h 55m
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Distributed by: Oscilloscope