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vota voi jata 1280x720 h 2018

Erik (Reimo Sagor) with his baby daughter Nora.


Estonia's foreign-language Oscar submission “Võta või jäta” had 5 successful screenings in Los Angeles with the director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, lead actor Reigo Sagor, and producer Ivo Felt present. 


“Take It or Leave It” looks at a single father's struggles and is the fictional debut from documentary filmmaker Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo. 


The writes: A 30-year-old Estonian working in construction in Finland is unexpectedly faced with a dilemma in the appropriately titled Take It or Leave It (Vota voi jata). This first fiction feature from distaff documentary editor and occasional director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo (In the Footsteps of Middendorff) looks at a man who unexpectedly becomes a father and then has to choose between caring for the baby alone or giving it up for adoption. Though not quite a story of social realism streaked with unexpected moments of grace a la the work of the Dardenne brothers — whose background, of course, was also in documentaries — this is nonetheless a realistically told drama about one blue-collar man’s struggle with keeping his head above water as he has to try and juggle life’s curveballs.


Released at home in mid-September, this is Estonia’s submission in the foreign-language Oscar derby. It is the third time Allfilm producer Ivo Felt has had one of his titles selected to represent the country in the last five years, with his Tangerines scoring Oscar and Golden Globe nominations in 2014 and The Fencer nominated for a Golden Globe and making the Oscar shortlist two years later. Inspired by a true story, Take It or Leave It is less of a classically structured movie narrative than Felt’s earlier productions and also a little rougher around the edges. It has been making the rounds of festivals with an Eastern European focus, such as Warsaw in Poland and Cineast in Luxembourg.


Erik (Reimo Sagor) is a ruggedly handsome construction worker in Finland, a twohour ferry ride across the Baltic Sea from his native Estonia. One morning, he gets a phone call from his ex-girlfriend, Moonika (Liis Lass), with whom he broke up six months earlier. He finds out that not only did they just have a baby but on top of that, Moonika is not interested in caring for their little girl at all. It seems like his ex might be suffering from a severe bout of post-natal depression and she’s thinking of putting the child up for adoption. For plot convenience more than logic, Moonika has decided to inform Erik, who hasn’t seen her since their breakup. Though startled by the news, he decides to take his baby girl home to his equally surprised parents, give up his job in Finland and try to raise the child until Moonika is out of her funk, which doctors suggest is probably temporary.


More on


Estonia's 2018 Oscar Selection TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT (2018) will be shown as a part of AFIfilmEU at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910) on Mon, Dec 3, 7:00 p.m.and Thurs, Dec 6, 5:10 p.m.


Full program:



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