A wonderfully poignant entertaining and deeply thought provoking Estonian "childrens" film from the "communist" era of Eastern European cinema. Based on the 1920 childrens story by the famous Estonian writer Oskar Luts, Nukitsamees (which translates as Bumpy) is a beautiful folklore/fairytale/fantasy film directed by the Estonian female film-maker Helle Karis (she uses the pseudonym "Helle Murdmaa" for her film work).
Bumpy tells the story of a young brother and sister who drop asleep while out picking strawberries and find themselves crossing the borderlands into the magical realm of the forest and falling into the clutches of the archetypal "old hag" and her family of "bogeys" who enslave the pair in the service of their insatiable appetite for food and money. While the boy, Kusti, is tasked with endless chopping and weeding, his younger sister "Iti" is drafted in as babysitter to the youngest bogey who she christens "Bumpy" in honour of his little pair of horns.
While most western folk-tales/fairy-tales are predicated on the fixed boundaries between the everyday realm of consensus reality: the life of the cottage, farm, village and castle and the crossing over into the imaginal realm of the magical kingdom, the enchanted forest, never-never land, Narnia: an occult space of dimensional "Otherness" followed by a return to every day reality after the lesson is learned.
In contrast, I find the boundaries in Eastern European and Russian folk-tales/fairy tales far more blurred as though the everyday and the magical are part of one continuum rather than two discreet incommensurable and fixed spaces (of course there are exceptions to this I am just speaking of a tendency) -
Bumpy really illustrates this as the writer Oskar Luts and by extension Helle Karis have the pair of kids eventually escaping the bogeys but in doing so they bring the almost feral mythical "Bumpy" back from the enchanted realm of the forest into the domesticated space of the family farm (very much in the manner of the "L'enfant sauvage" with all the cultural and societal disruptions such acts entail.
I am not a huge fan of films with musical interludes but in the case of Bumpy it works so well as the film has some of the most beautiful, funny and melancholic songs ever to grace a folk-tale/fairy-tale adaptation. I have watched dozens of "communist" era Eastern European and Russian films of this genre and this is definitely in my top ten.
I have spent a considerable time revising the subtitles (original translator and subtitle maker unknown) and I am hoping people who speak Estonian and love the film will be interested in improving the translation. I have posted the film on You Tube with a separate subtitle stream and the "interactive transcript" button makes it very easy to select each subtitle line (just type in 'Bumpy' and 'subtitles' and its the one on the kosmikino channel).