The Fencer

Drafted by Nazis, in post-war Estonia men were identified as “enemies of the State,” causing many to flee the prospect of Stalin’s labor camps. This Finnish/German/Estonian film is loosely based on Endel Nelis, who chose small town employment as a physical education teacher to escape from the watchful eyes of the secret police. When red tape prevents a skiing trip, he fashions foils out of twigs and proceeds to capture the student’s imagination by teaching them to fence to such an extent that they practice for inclusion in a Soviet tournament to be held in Leningrad – the very place Nelis is trying desperately to avoid. A suspenseful post-war exercise in staying one step ahead of Soviet detection.