The Estonian-Georgian co-produced film “Tangerines“, has made the final 2015 Oscar nomination list for Best Foreign Film. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe award. “Tangerines” is the first Estonian film nominated for an Academy Award.
“Tangerines” is set in an Estonian village in Abkhazia during the early 1990’s war with Georgia. Two villagers – Ivo and his neighbour Margus – are the only villagers who haven’t fled their homes for safety in Estonia. Margus has stayed behind to help his friend and farmer, Ivo, with the annual tangerine harvest.
The war’s front lines arrive at Ivo’s doorstep when a shootout between Georgian and Russia-backed North Caucasian forces leaves several soldiers dead. The men take in two survivors from opposite sides of the conflict. As the men try to overcome the conflict within their home, they overcome geographic and ethnic and religious differences.
“The strongest performance comes from veteran Lembit Ulfsak as the older Estonian man who shelters the two enemies in his home,” writes film critic Stephen Farber in The Hollywood Reporter. “His character, Ivo, has obviously suffered his own losses, and Ulfsak conveys the necessary world weariness, along with a deep-seated compassion that comes from observing senseless hostilities over the course of a lifetime.”
Farber continues, “director Urushadze films the rural landscapes with a poetic but unsentimental eye, so that when the bucolic scenes are blasted by gunfire, the impact is even greater. This story is obviously destined to end badly, but the mournful, oddly redemptive conclusion seems exactly right.”
The film was co-produced by Estonian production company Allfilm and was shot by award winning Estonian cinematographer, Rein Kotov and produced by Ivo Felt.