A blurry vision of big city lights. A young woman with high heels and lipstick, ready for a romantic evening, stands outside a restaurant lighting herself a cigarette, an image like Edward Hopper's “Nighthawks“. We hear a stylish synthesizer score reminiscent of Vangelis.
ERITI JUST HOMMIKUTI, directed with sensitivity and a fine sense for emotion by Heleri Saarik, has a lot of style, but, as we will soon find out, also all the complexity needed to balance that.
The short film is about a complex and self-destructive relationship, with the audience gradually shifting their sympathies and switching sides for the running time of about 20 minutes, until it's hard to settle on either side. We may be put off by the harsh tone between the two lovers at first, as the man stands the woman up and then lets her walk halfway across the nightly town to his flat for no apparent reason. When she arrives he's actually being snotty and unapologetic about it. We understand their weird dynamics a bit better once we learn that the woman's married and her lover is rightfully jealous and bitter about it. We're not sure who to trust any more – or who to sympathise with.
ERITI JUST HOMMIKUTI
Like the couple in the 2009 Berlin Jury Grand Prize winner EVERYONE ELSE by Maren Ade, these two also are caught in a state of symbiotic manic depression, uncontrollably plunging from one extreme into the other, unable to endure a single moment of emotional calm, least of all routine. Their silence is like a staring contest – seeing who gives in first. This is not a relationship, this is a power struggle. She decides she's had enough and threatens to leave. Maybe just to see how he would react? He calls her bluff. She doesn't leave. Then they party as if nothing had happened. But one of them is always irritated, while the other has some snide remark at the ready, something like: “You're so cute when you're like that.“ Even their affection is used as a weapon. It's no wonder that verbal abuse and fisticuffs are quick to follow.
Heleri Saarik manages a cool, calm portray of two people caught in a downward spiral, both of them seemingly depressed about the lack of emotional stability, while both of them clearly couldn't stand even a minute of such stability. If this was supposed to be extra-marital fun, then there's surely no fun whatsoever. Even their drunken sex is half sleepy, half hectic, all schizophrenic and uneasy. When the woman has then finally hit rock bottom, when she has done what she has sworn she would not do, she's finally making her escape, walking the walk of shame through the clear air of dawn, with all the glamour and Edward Hopper style of the night irrevocably gone. Instead she bites off a disgusting sandwich – her escape seems frail, and we can only hope that it will be permanent.
ERITI JUST HOMMIKUTI
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