Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

The Fencer

Year: 2015
Run Time: 99 minutes

The Fencer
The Fencer
The Fencer

Endel is on the run. With his past affiliations catching up with him, he eludes the secret police in Leningrad and finds himself in hapless Haapsalu, Estonia. It is the early 1950s and, in the wake of World War II, Estonia is living under the iron fist of Stalin’s Soviet empire, with many of the fathers lost to the war or shipped off to prison camps. Endel finds a job running the sports club at a secondary school, where he shares his expertise in fencing with eager young students. But Endel is undermined at every turn by his weasel of a principal, a communist functionary who is suspicious of his past and deems fencing non-proletariat. Endel must ultimately choose between guiding his team or running for his life. Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film, and featuring a wonderful lead performance by Estonian actor, Märt Avandi, THE FENCER is a touching drama about a coach who gives children something to believe in. Based in part on the real life of expert fencer, Endel Nelis. (In Estonian and Russian with subtitles) –C.O.

CIFF40 Screenings

Saturday, April 09, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 11:25 AM

World Tour

Klaus Härö

Klaus Härö was born in Porvoo, Finland in 1971. He has won a slew of awards around the globe, including the Ingmar Bergman Award, ever since making his first feature in 2002.

"Elina: As If I Wasn't There" (2002), "Statisti" (2003), "Mother of Mine" (2005), "The New Man" (2007), "Letters to Father Jacob" (2009), THE FENCER (2015)

Kai Nordberg, Kaarle Aho

Anna Heinämaa

Tuomo Hutri

Tambert Tasuja, Ueli Christen

Principal Cast
Märt Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp

Film Contact

Media Partner

Akron Life Magazine

Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today