Rainer Sarnet’s 2017 release, November is a film which feels as if it purposely goes out of its way to defy categorisation. The black and white film is a dark comedy, a fairy tale fantasy, a twisted family drama and a doomed romance about star-crossed lovers. It’s all of these and none at once, a cinematic cypher of cryptic proportions.
This Estonian film sees the relationship of Lina (Rea Lest) and Hans (Jörgen Liik) hit a speed bump when a young Baroness arrives in their new village. Throw in a mischievous devil, strange farm-tool creatures called Kratts and the bubonic plague and you have the mind-bending makings of a cult classic. The plot of November can’t really be described. To do so would mean that you have to quantify it in relative terms – and nothing about Sarnet’s is relative – it’s completely unique.
Diving into a film like November is to celebrate world cinema. This is the type of off-beat cinematic treat that you can only get when you shirk the multiplex. It’s a mysterious gem of a film which unwraps itself in the most unexpected ways. You won’t know where it’s going and when it gets there you will wonder how you even arrived at the final destination. Throw in award-winning cinematography from Mart Taniel and you have something very special.
At its best, cinema can be an ethereal thing, a piece of wonder which has nothing to do with box office, franchises or celebrities. It can shock, inspire and surprise, lifting the viewer into a unique astral plane. November manages to do just that, thrusting it’s audience into an unexpected world – and that takes tremendous skill.