Shortlisted for a 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, this elegantly crafted, superbly acted drama tells the story of a fencing instructor in post-war, Soviet-occupied Estonia, and bears similar themes and emotional impact to the superb Monsieur Lazhar.
Inspired by real-life events, The Fencer takes its cues from the life of legendary fencing master Endel Nelis, who founded a school for young swordsmen in the 1950s that still runs to this day. Endel hides from Stalin’s secret police in a remote Estonian village because of his forced service in the German army during World War II. His attempts to keep a low profile as a physical education instructor at a local school come under threat when he uses his love of fencing to develop a rapport with his students and, consequently, raises the ire of the party-loyalist school principal.
Beautifully shot by cinematographer Cuomo Hutri, this moving drama was the winner of Finland’s major film prize, selected as the Opening Night Gala for the 2016 Palm Springs Film Festival, and received a nomination as Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. It will pull at the heartstrings of any film-lover inspired by stories of compassion, determination and bravery against the odds.