29-03-2009

Court overturns Estonian film’s ban

Written by Martin Aadamsoo
Tallinn Discrict Court lifted the exibition ban imposed in May 2008 on Kadri Kõusaar's Cannes entry Magnus after the director successfully contested the first level court's controversial ruling.

The initial ruling banned the screening of the film in any form for the duration of seven years in Estonia, Europe and the world.

The film, although straight from Cannes Un Certain Regard section in 2007, was never released commercially in Estonia, causing a public debate about the ethical limits of creative art works and the acceptable extent of artistic license. The film tells the story of a teenage boy seeking an exit from life, featuring the supposed prototype's real father. The case was taken to the courts by the supposed prototype's mother who claimed the film impinged on her privacy. The court's initial ruling was seen as a dangerous precedent for the handling of creative works on the basis of privacy issues.

The commercial window for the film seems to be closed at this point, with many people stirred by the controversy already downloading the film illegally from the internet. That cast the strength of such court bans into further doubt. Kõusaar expects the district court's decision to be appealed by the plaintiff, potentially leading for further legal wrangles.

Magnus was produced by UK-based Donus Films.