Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globes
An affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his lifeto uphold a bond of trust with his students.
--Marilyn Ferdinand, Chicago Reader
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The Fencer

A young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in the early 1950s having left Leningrad to escape the secret police. He finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his them and starts teaching them his great passion, fencing, which causes a conflict with the school’s principal. Envious, the principal starts investigating Endel’s background.

Endel learns to love the children and looks after them; most are orphans as a result of the Russian occupation. Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children and Endel becomes a role model. The children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, and Endel must make a choice: risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them.

“Suffused with gorgeous cinematography, this sharp-sweet drama is a pleasure to watch.” – Kate Muir, The Times of London

“Well-acted, smoothly crafted.” – Justin Chang, Variety

Played at

Royal, 8.18.17 - 8.31.17
Playhouse 7, 8.18.17 - 8.24.17
Rated NR This film is subtitled This film is subtitled
Runtime: 99 min
Language: Armenian, Estonian, Russian

Director: Klaus Härö
Cast: Liisa Koppel, Märt Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp

  • Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
FEATURED REVIEW: Joe Bendel, Epoch Times
Throughout the film, Härö vividly captures a sense of the late Stalinist-era paranoia, as well as the drabness of Soviet life in general. It is also engaging on a human level. These are reserved people, but when they make a connection, it is meaningful.