Archive of films Karu Süda - The Heart of the Bear / Karu Süda

Estonia / Czech Republic / Germany / Russia
2001, 118 min

Section: East of the West
Year: 2002

A young Estonian named Nika wants to escape his stereotypical life through an adventure to the Siberian taiga. But the mystique of savage nature and the need to survive under extreme conditions teach him to view the surrounding world, and even his own life, in a new light.


A young Estonian named Nika wants to escape his clichéd city life by setting out on an adventure to the Siberian taiga. He wants to become a hunter but in order to do so he’s got to learn to survive under extreme Siberian conditions, to withstand loneliness and to bear the burden of absolute freedom and taking responsibility for his actions. He finds help and understanding among the local native inhabitants, but his fate is most affected by the meeting of two incompatible worlds – that of the fragile teacher Guitya, whom he marries, and the wild bear woman to whom he draws closer during the inhospitable winter. The film was based on Estonian writer Nikolai Baturin’s novel of the same name.

About the director

Arvo Iho (b. 1949, Rakvere, Estonia) is a director, cameraman and producer. He graduated in anthropology from Montana State University and as a cameraman from Moscow’s VGIK film school. He then began working behind the lens, and in the mid-eighties independently directed features and documentaries (many were awarded at international festivals). He has also spent time as a photographer and teacher. “Making this film fulfilled a dream. But I’ve never made anything so terribly difficult before. After endless negotiations I was finally granted permission to shoot in the northern Urals. They are one of the last truly untouched places in Europe,” the director says. Filmography (selected): The Birdwatcher (1986), The Songs of Milarepa (l988), The Chronicle of Sireniki (l99O), Sister of Mercy (l99l), Children of the Russian Empire (l992), Winter in Lapland (l996).

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: East of the West
Director: Arvo Iho
Screenplay: Arvo Iho, Arvo Valton, Rustam Ibragimbekov podle knihy / based on the novel by Nikolai Baturin
Dir. of Photography: Rein Kotov
Music: Peeter Vahi
Editor: Ahti Tubin
Producer: Mati Sepping, Andrej Zercsalov / Andrei Zertsalov, Jana Tomsová, Zdeněk Stehno, Manfred Durniok
Production: Faama Film (Estonsko), Studio Fáma 92 a 4S Production (ČR), Manfred Durnik Produktion (Německo), Lenfilm (Rusko)
Cast: Rain Simmul, Dinara Drukarova, Iljana Pavlova / Ilyana Pavlova, Kulli Teetamn, Lembit Ulfsak

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