Leida Laius was born in 1923 in the village of Horoshevo near Kingissepp (formerly Jamburg) and died in 1996 in Tallinn. She volunteered for the Red Army as a medic and librarian before graduating from the Estonian SSR State Institute of Theatre and the directing program at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). Her film legacy, developed in part at Tallinnfilm studio, is one of exploring strong women’s stories, mysterious marital relations, and the challenges of motherhood. She was a pioneering figure in the male-dominated film world of the time and a key exemplar of Estonian art film.
Marking the centenary of her birth, BFMAF presents a new restoration of the seventh and final feature of Leida Laius, one of Estonia’s most distinctive directors. The tenacious Valentina, recently freed from prison in Soviet Russia, heads back to her native Estonia on a quest to find her son Jüri. A Stolen Meeting touches on powerful themes of migration, rootlessness, reconciliation and motherhood at the end of the Soviet Era.