Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas



Year: 2015
Run Time: 100 minutes


Staring death in the face with bombs and bullets flying is an occupational hazard for a soldier. But it helps to know who, or what, you are fighting for. In the summer and fall of 1944, Estonians were caught in the murky middle of fierce fighting between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. With World War II raging, men were sliced and diced into confused allegiances. The result: Estonians killing each other. Some wore the uniform of the Waffen SS; others served in the Red Army. “I don’t recognize myself,” laments one fighter. “It feels like you’re outside your own body.” Through riveting realism, Elmo Nüganen’s powerful and moving 1944 charts the bloody trail of two small groups of soldiers on both sides as they struggle with issues of identity, trust, honor, and love. Nüganen’s vivid storytelling is enhanced by stunning cinematography and heartfelt performances. The Second World War is a book with many chapters. This seldom-told tale is worth reopening. (In Estonian, Russian, and German with subtitles) —C.O.

CIFF40 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Thursday, April 07, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Saturday, April 09, 2016 at 5:00 PM

George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Competition

Elmo Nüganen

Elmo Nüganen was born in 1962 in Estonia. The writer-director-actor is known for his acclaimed stage productions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and The Three Musketeers at the Tallinn City Theatre, where he has been the artistic director since 1992.

"Names Engraved in Marble" (2002), "Mindless" (2006), 1944 (2015)

Kristian Taska, Ilkka Matila

Leo Kunnas

Rein Kotov, Mart Taniel

Tambet Tasuja

Principal Cast
Kristjan Üksküla, Kaspar Velberg, Maiken Schmidt

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