Estdocs review: The Blue Hills (8)
Archived Articles 20 Oct 2006 Adu RaudkiviEWR
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Maimu Mölder, keystone of the Estdocs film festival.
 Photo: Adu Raudkivi - pics/2006/14440_4.jpg
Maimu Mölder, keystone of the Estdocs film festival. Photo: Adu Raudkivi
Producer: Kiur Aarma.Director: Raimo Jõerand. Writers: Raimo Jõerand, Eerik Niiles Kross, Kiur Aarma. Length: 52 min. Year: 2006 Estonian with English Subtitles

This film takes us back to WW II, the summer of 1944 when the German fortunes were already badly waning. The Sinimäed were home to some of the most monumental and least publicized, - at least in the West - grand battles in the European theatre. Estonians had been generally exempt from large-scale fighting, but now the Russians were on their doorstep and the fate of Estonia was at stake.

The narration is through the diaries of Sinimägede hero Captain Paul Maitla as spoken by his daughter with interviews by Estonian, German, and Russian participants.

The Germans mobilized masses of Estonian volunteers - many in their teens - but also brought in troops of Norwegian, Dutch and Belgian background. In later discussions members of the audience explained the difficulties of honouring the latter because their own countries still see them as traitors and oppose their honouring with a monument.

Archival footage shows the fierce artillery barrages from both sides and then the still photos depicting the tender romance between Captain Maitla and his wife.

Eesti Elu writer Eerik Purje introduced 80-year-old Mihkel Salusoo, who was one of the young Estonian soldiers who had been wounded during he Blue Hills battles that lasted for months. Salusoo gave the story of the battles a even greater ring of reality as he spoke of this person who he met when he was wounded at the Blue Hills, then again he met the same person when he was wounded once more in Germany and finally when he arrived in Toronto and joined the Toronto Estonian Male Choir. The man eventually became Salusoo's best man when he married.

The discussions are very professionally translated by whoever are at hand throughout the events. Estdocs are run under the aegis of Tartu College and Tartu Institute. The directing hand is Maimu Mölder's and the other hands are those of Aarne Vahtra, Vaado Sarapuu, Marcus Kolga, Ellen Valter, Peeter Piil, Kalle Kadakas, Killi van Meggelen and many others.
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