About the film
It is 29 November 1924. “The Great Trial of 149” has just ended and the threat of Communist terror seems to be over. The Republic of Estonia is going about its daily life. Tanel and Anna Rõuk, a young married couple, are trying to make ends meet on the meagre income of an Estonian soldier and communication centre operator. She is discontented – there is not even an whole pair of tights to wear. And the Officers’ Ball will take place in the evening, where the main topics of conversation are bound to be yet another delay in salaries and rumours of a planned coup.
At the same time when the Estonian higher military officers are partying, men are being lined up on the other side of the border, rebels hide in various locations in Tallinn and agitators are busy with propaganda work among the common folk. The Head of Komintern – Zinovjev – has arrived in Leningrad, in order to give the signal to begin to those pulling the strings. Nonetheless, the leaders of the Republic of Estonia are not totally unaware of the looming rebellion – the city map hanging over the desk of General Unt, Head of the Tallinn Garrison, is studded with red drawing pins. But for some reason the man is not making a move. Despite frequent messages about meetings he is delaying the decisive step.
The only one keen for action is the legendary General Põdder, but Akel, the Head of State, pays no attention to his warnings and General Unt clearly forbids him to get involved. The inebriated Põdder pours his heart out to Tanel Rõuk when the latter accompanies him home from the ball. The General’s recommendation is for Tanel to leave the army and try his hand at his pre-war profession as an architect. Tanel, encouraged by the General’s advice, gives in to Anna’s wishes and they decide to leave Estonia.
On the morning of the couple’s departure, 1 December, officers gather at the Balti Jaam train station en route to training. Tanel has barely managed to say goodbye to his former colleagues when the rebellion begins. Tanel is entrapped and Anna, who has followed her husband, shares his fate. Anna is held hostage by the leader of the Communists, with whom she shares a past, and Tanel has to fight both for saving the Republic and his wife.
Attacks follow on the House of Parliament on Toompea, the military school in Tondi, the house of the Head of State, the Ministry of Defence and other strategically important objects. There has been no advance warning, the offensive comes at the time of sleep. They can barely put up a fight, but slowly independent resistance groups begin to rise in the chaos. Põdder on his way home from a pub becomes one of the main organisers of resistance. In the course of events many soldiers, rebels and innocent civilians are killed, but there are some who help Tanel nearer to his goal.
When the rebellion has almost been suppressed, it turns out that the fate of the Republic of Estonia hangs on a single telegram in which the Communists plan to send a plea for help to Russia – where several thousand soldiers are waiting behind the border. It becomes decisive whether the rebels can overtake the post office. At the last moment, Tanel Rõuk and General Põdder arrive on the scene and manage to interrupt the sending of the telegram. General Unt also turns up for the last scene of the rebellion. His motives remain somewhat hazy – how long did he intend to keep raising the stakes, in order for the enemy to play himself into his hands?
The Rõuk’s hurry back to Balti Jaam to pick up the suitcase containing their whole life and to make a decision of where their life will take them next.