ECOLOGY: Inspired by the growing movement of global eco-villages, a group of 12 adults and 6 children set out to start the first such eco-community in Estonia.
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JoAnne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin is a Canadian journalist & film director living in Europe, creating long-form documentary films with a very special focus on authentic sound.
Published date: October 28, 2019

So many films and books are entitled The Circle , you are forgiven if, at first, the title of this new documentary from Estonian director, Margit Lillak feels lukewarm. However, its 95 minutes are cut from five years of patiently observing the growth and fracturing of what the director calls «the very first Estonian eco-community» – a dozen adults together with their young children create a viable, ecological way of life in a tight cluster of neglected buildings on 33 hectares of arable land somewhere in Estonia.

The circle, in this case, is especially their preferred seating arrangement when they meet to address tensions and troubles – including conflicting views on how to raise children, for example. Love is the big answer, but how to put this into practice is hard and this film indicates how different ways of managing communal decision-making can work. Change may have to start from within, but that’s the same place where sexual attractions and jealousies lurk. The room in which the circle forms is usually uncluttered, fresh, and wooden-walled; the windows are curtain-less. This is the safe zone in which real anger and cathartic …


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