Erik Gandini’s The Rebel Surgeon won Viewers’ Choice Award at the XXXII Pärnu Film Festival in Estonia

XXXII Pärnu Film Festival’s (25 June – 1 July) Grand Prix was awarded to a German film-maker with Syrian roots Talal Derki for his film “Of Fathers and Sons” (Germany 2017).

Best Estonian Documentary Film Award went to Jaanis Valk for his film “Ahto. Unistuste jaht” (transl: Ahto. Chasing a dream) (Estonia 2017).

I enjoyed watching 3 documentaries that competed for the Viewers’ Choice Award:

“Ziemia bezdomnych” (Poland 2017). Technically polished aspect of the movie and individual scenes of introspection being artistically framed as portraits gave a visually strong esthetic experience. I liked also the human touch regarding the subject of building a yacht of dreams for the homeless and broken people. The film director Marcin Janos Krawczyk studied at Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing.

“Thori saga” (Denmark-Iceland 2011). Thor Jensen left Denmark at the age of 15 to become an apprentice to a tradesman in Iceland (in the end of 1870s). Later he built many strong trade businesses in Iceland and had his fair share of bankruptcies. Still, he played an important role in the Icelandic economy in the whole. Thor Jensen’s story is as fascinating as Donald Trump’s grandfather’s immigration and success story. In the movie, Thor Jensen’s story is shown in parallel to his grandson’s Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, who first started as an entrepreneur in Russia and later was involved in one Icelandic bank Landsbanki when it crashed in 2008. Director Ulla Boje Rasmussen.

“Pavlenski. Life Naked” (Russia-Latvia 2016). Shows Pjotr Pavlenski’s naked performances in Moscow and in Saint Petersburg, where he sets fire on buildings of KGB and car tires on pavements and is later convicted for hooliganism and destroying property. His one most famous act to this day was nailing himself to the pavement of the Red Square of Moscow. The film gives a sneak peek to his “every day life”, where he speaks up about autocracy in Russia, serves jail time, shares his life in open and liberal marriage with Oksana Shalygina. Technically speaking it is uneven as parts of the movie are made up from very different footage as clips from mobile phones etc. Director Darja Hrenova.


You may watch The Rebel Surgeon and other documentaries that competed for Viewers’ Choice Award at the XXXII Pärnu Film Festival only until 8th of July 2018 at this address:

From left to right: Erik Erichsen, the surgeon, from “The Rebel Surgeon” and Jaanis Valk (director of “Ahto. Chasing a Dream”) at the reception of the Award Ceremony at the Pärnu Modern Art Museum on 30 June 2018; Photo Courtesy of: Vaiko Edur/



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