Äratus (English: Awakening) is a 1989 Estonian historical drama film directed by Jüri Sillart.[1]

Directed byJüri Sillart
Written byRein Saluri
CinematographyMait Mäekivi
Edited byTiina Lokk, Marju Juhkum
Music byKuldar Sink
Release date
22 February 1990
Running time
103 minutes
LanguagesEstonian, Russian


The film chronicles the lives of Estonian villagers during "Operation Priboi"; the 25 to 28 March 1949 Soviet mass deportation of more than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians labeled as "enemies of the people" to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.[2][3]


The manuscript of the film was written by writer and playwright Rein Saluri and presented to Tallinnfilm editor Tiina Lokk in late 1986 or early 1987. Lokk liked the manuscript, but was initially dissuaded by other employees at Tallinnfilm from pursuing the project. In 1989, the editorial board at Tallinnfilm granted Lokk permission to turn the manuscript into a film. Arvo Kruusement was the first choice to direct the film, however, he disliked the material. Jüri Sillart, who had worked as a cameraman and cinematographer up to that point in his career, showed an interest in the material and was hired as the director. Historian Mart Laar interviewed subjects who were deported to Siberia in the late 1940s for research and the manuscript was finalized on Hiiumaa by Saluri and Sillart.[4]

The filmmakers later recounted that they were surprised that it was not difficult to make a film about the deportations during the end of the Soviet era. Russian conscripts were even hired from their military base at Tapa as extras in the film. When the film was completed, Lokk, Sillart, and Saluri took the film in a taxi to the All-Union Cinema Committee in Moscow for review. Neither Lokk nor Sillart remember any reproach by Soviet authorities there.[4]



Awards, nominations, participations:

  • 1989: Monstra Internationale del Film d'Auttore (San Remo, Italy). Special Jury Prize
  • 1990: Espoo Ciné International Film Festival (Finland). Nyrki Tapiovaara Award
  • 1990: Riga International Film Festival (Latvia), Participation. Main Program
  • 1990: Edinburgh International Film Festival (Scotland, UK). Participation, Main Program
  • 2001: Baltic Film Festival (Gotland, Sweden). Participation, Main Program[5]


  1. ^ "Äratus (1989) - Eesti filmi andmebaas". www.efis.ee. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  2. ^ Kosk, Kaspar (29 May 2020). "Püha Jüri". Filmileht (in Estonian). Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  3. ^ Bayman, Louis; Pinazza, Natália (November 2018). Journeys on Screen: Theory, Ethics, Aesthetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781474421836.
  4. ^ a b Pullerits, Priit (25 March 2009). "Köitev küüditamisfilm valmis ülemuste vastuseisu kiuste". Postimees (in Estonian). Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Festivalid, auhinnad, nominatsioonid". Eesti filmi andmebaas (in Estonian). Retrieved 5 January 2022.

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