Archive of films Those Old Love Letters / Need vanad armastuskirjad

1992, 127 min

Section: Focus on Baltic Film (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
Year: 2003

The life of Estonian composer Raimond Valgre was connected to his country’s own tough fate. The talented young pianist, a composer of lovely romantic songs, ended up, like many of his peers, in a gulag during the war. After returning to Tallinn, Valgre’s world came tumbling down and he died prematurely, but his songs live on.


The story, centring on the life of Estonian composer Raimond Valgre, begins prior to the Second World War. A young and promising pianist, a composer of beautiful romantic songs, falls in love with the blonde-haired daughter of the Swedish consul. The beautiful Alice returns his affection, though to her family this Estonian bohemian is nothing more than an unacceptable upstart. When the Russian army invades Estonia, Alice returns home and Raimond enlists in the army. Like other Estonian soldiers, he ends up in a Soviet gulag but he never stops composing. He manages to awaken love for women, but his life eventually falls apart because he can’t resist alcohol. He returns to Tallinn after the war, but even his mother’s overpowering loving care can’t save him. The 36-year-old creator, who could no longer bear the burden of the times, died on New Year’s Eve 1949. A prohibited artist, only a few people show up to his funeral, but Valgre’s music lives on and he has become a permanent part of Estonia.

About the director

Mati Poldre (b. 1936, Tallinn), as cameraman, shared in making over 70 films, most of them documentaries. He began his own directing with the feature film The Spring in Your Heart (1985). His second feature Those Old Love Letters was nominated for an Oscar in 1992. He is currently working as a teacher. Selected filmography: The Spring in Your Heart (1985), Those Old Love Letters (1992), Autumn in Anstla (1992, documentary), Sound from the Past (1994, documentary), Teacher (documentary, 1997). 


Estonian Film Institute
Uus 3, 10111, Tallinn
Tel: +372 627 6060
Fax: +372 627 6061
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Focus on Baltic Film (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
Director: Mati Poldre
Screenplay: Lilian Poldre, Mati Poldre, Akejsandr Borodjanski
Dir. of Photography: Aleksander Razumov
Music: Raimond Valgre
Editor: Kersti Miilen
Producer: Enda Lehtmets
Production: Freyja Film, Estonian Television
Cast: Rain Simmul, Liis Tappo, Ülle Kaljuste, Marika Korolev
Contact: Estonian Film Institute


Karlo Funk


Mati Poldre


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