Impressive, low-key cinema with a wonderful original soundtrack
Devastatingly beautiful feature film that transforms the harrowing historical reality of the Second World War in the Baltic States into unforgettable poetic nostalgia.
In 1941, 27-year-old Erna (Peterson) is one of the 40 thousand Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians deported to Siberian labour camps by the Soviets as they follow Stalin’s orders for ‘ethnic cleansing’. For Erna, time stops. Only after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 did the Baltic States regain their freedom and some of the survivors felt able to return.
Director Martti Helde decided to film this period of his country’s history in black-and-white tableaux vivants. A dramatic and effective choice, executed with an eye for detail, that conveys the experience of losing intangible freedoms. While the camera moves between people, we hear Erna talk about her inner struggle for freedom. Imprisonment takes not only your freedom, but also your time.
Erna’s reflections are complemented by images full of symbolism. The choreography in In the Crosswind is extraordinarily clever, the contemplative storytelling flows easily, and the sound and music work superbly with the visual images.