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The Fencer

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Fleeing from the Russian secret police because of his controversial past, a young Estonian fencer named Endel is forced to return to his homeland, where he finds work as a teacher and starts a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his students and starts teaching them his great passion, fencing, which causes a conflict with the school’s principal. Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children, and Endel becomes a role model and father figure. He learns to love the children, many of whom have been orphaned as a result of the Russian occupation. When the children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, Endel must make a choice; risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them.

Reactions, Awards & Festivals

“Suffused with gorgeous cinematography, the sharp-sweet drama is Finland’s foreign Oscar entry and a pleasure to watch.”

Kate Muir

The Times of London

“Well-acted, smoothly crafted"

Justin Chang


“An affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his life to uphold a bond of trust with his students.”

Marilyn Ferdinand

Chicago Reader

Best Foreign Language Film Nominee - 2016 Golden Globe®

Finland's Official Selection for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 2016

Cast & Crew
  • Endel : Märt Avandi
  • Kadri : Ursula Ratasepp
  • Principal : Hendrik Toompere
  • Marta : Liisa Koppel
  • Jaan's Grandfather : Lembit Ulfsak
  • Director : Klaus Härö
  • Screenplay : Anna Heinämaa
  • Producer : Kai Nordberg, Kaarle Aho
  • Cinematography : Tuomo Hutri
  • Editor : Tambert Tasuja, Ueli Christen
  • Production Designer : Jaagup Roomet
  • Costume Designer : Tiina Kaukanen
  • Music : Gert Wilden Jr.
Technical Info
  • Production Year : 2015
  • Release Date : January 5, 2018
  • Countries of Production : Finland, Estonia
  • Languages : Russian, Estonian, Armenian
  • Running Time : 99 Minutes
  • Screen Ratio : 2.35 : 1
  • Sound : Dolby
  • Color : Color
  • Rating : Not Rated