7:30 PM, 16th May, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EMBASSY OF FINLAND
There is a long tradition of films celebrating the role of school teachers, and how they can influence and inspire young lives. Remember Dead Poets Society or To Sir With Love or Goodbye Mr Chips? This one from Finland might become another favourite.
Based on true stories, The Fencer has something for everyone: action, drama and romance. Set in a beautiful Nordic landscape during a snowy winter, this is the touching tale of Estonian champion fencer, Endel Nelis. Life was difficult and sometimes dangerous under Soviet rule in Estonia straight after WWII. To escape the KGB secret police, Nelis moves to a small town where he becomes a physical education teacher at a local school. He soon becomes a father figure to his students, mostly war orphans, as he starts to teach them fencing in an afterschool sports club.
However, he quickly realises how difficult it is to leave his past life behind, and is faced with a difficult decision. The talented students in the sports club wish to compete in a fencing competition but that would possibly reveal his past and put him at great risk.
The movie is directed by Klaus Härö, a Finnish filmmaker with a long history of successful films and many awards, whose work deserves to be seen by a wider audience.