Contemporary World Cinema
SIFF Says:17-year-old Laura (Maris Nõlvak) can’t wait for summer to be over. Her judgmental peers have empty inner lives, boys her age bore her to tears, and her mother won’t stop haranguing her about her eating habits. When her best friend Merit (Getter Meresmaa) offers her a respite from their provincial town life for an extended hike in the Estonian countryside, Laura jumps at the offer, hoping that it will assuage her teenage ennui. Enter Joosep (Gert Raudsep), their scruffy, fortysomething tour guide, whose rough-edged demeanor initially rubs Laura in all the wrong ways. But as their journey through the peat bogs extends over several days and they find common ground despite their dissimilar upbringings, the two let their guards down, and Laura starts to feel the first pangs of love. A tender drama about the complications of becoming an adult—few films so effortlessly capture the awkwardness and enhanced sensations of adolescence—CHERRY TOBACCO is a quiet gem whose delicate screenplay co-written by married directors Katrin and Andres Maimik, unobtrusive cinematography by Mihkel Soe, and naturalistic acting add up to a welcomingly low-key affair.
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