THE WATERFOWL PEOPLE

The Waterfowll People. Lennart Meri´s Film Expeditions 1969-1988.

Lennart Meri, a beloved Estonian head of state (1992-2001), was also a writer and a filmmaker, whose mission was to tell the ancient tale of the Estonian nation and its kindred peoples, searching foremost for an aswer to the eternal question of small nations - who they are and, where they come from and where are they going. Over the course of more than 30 years, Lennart Meri roamed either alone or with self organized expeditions throughout the hardest-accessible areas of the Soviet Union. There, he was fascinated by small nations´ experiences of keeping their cultures alive in spite of colonizer speaking a foreign tongue.

Moving pictures about the kindred peoples arose out of his film expeditions over the years 1969-1988: "The Waterfowl People" (1970), "The Winds of the Milky Way" (1977), "The Voices of Kaleva" (1985), "The Sons of Torum" (1989), and "The Shaman" (1977/1997) - the first internationally-substantial documentaries about the Finno-Ugric nations. Among the film crews were ethnographers, folklorists, artists and writers. The farthest journeys led to the Khantys, Mansis, and Nagasans in Siberia; to Mari and Erzya villages along the Volga river; to the Komi hunters. recorded closer to Estonia where the native cultures of Livonians, the Votians and the Vepsians, as well as the Karelians and Finns. Naturally, the film crew also visited Estonians´ linguistic relatives in Hungary, and an ancieny and slightly mysterious Ugri tribe.

Design and compiled by: Peeter Laurits
Texts: Enn Säde
Translations: Adam Cullen
Editor: Eha Viluoja
Project manager: Kadi Raudalainen
Consultant: Mart Meri

THE WATERFOWL PEOPLE
THE WATERFOWL PEOPLE
THE WATERFOWL PEOPLE