Based on Andrus Kivirähk’s novel Rehepapp, ‘November’ tells the story of a pagan Estonian village where werewolves, the plague, and spirits roam.
Director Rainer Sarnet elevates his film above mere period drama, sprinkling the fable of peasant girl Liina’s doomed romance with Hans with generous amounts of humor, and enriching its earthy fairytale milieu with beautiful black and white cinematography.
The film screens as part of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in its International Narrative Competition April 24 – 27 at various venues around New York City. Find more information and tickets to ‘November’ – HERE
What was the first aspect of ‘November’ that made you want to tell this story at the feature length level? Was it the source material or was it something more abstract?
There are together very controversial things- the spiritual world like ghosts, church and very materialistic peasant world. The pragmatic peasants are using the spiritual world for their own benefit. I liked that idea from the novel “Rehepapp” which was the source material for the film, it seems actual to me nowadays. Of course, it was a great challenge to put visually together this magical spiritual world and the dark side of human beeing.
Describe the visual strategy behind the film? How did your approach to its photography develop over its production? Was there ever a moment of significant adjustment from your original vision?
In spite of fact that this film based on Estonian fairytales I wanted that the film would look very realistic. I found the photographer Johannes Pääsuke who took pictures of the Estonian peasants in 19 century. It was like anthropological overview how they lived and how they looked like. They lived in the small houses with animals, they wore strange clothes, not at all national clothes what we know. It was pretty sad and ugly world but it was unbelievable as fairytale at the same time. So, I took the visual key from these black and white old photos.
With the film hitting Tribeca Film Festival, describe how you plan to further expand its accessibility to wide audiences?
I read some reviews which have been released in NY already, and I see that the main theme is understandable we need something beautiful and weird which helps us to live in this pragmatic greedy world.
Can you talk a little about the design aspects of the film’s branding…for example, choice of font, color, and the development of its poster. How do you view the branding strategy of the film?
It is a dark fantasy film. All designs aspects came from that.
Finally, if you could describe your film in one word, what would it be?