Pirjo Honkasalo, Finland, 1991, color, 35mm, 94'
After making Tulipää, at the time the most expensive Finnish feature film ever, filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo dedicated herself to low-budget documentaries. Mysterion is the first part of a trilogy about the meaning of spirituality in a changing world. The age-old convent of Pyhtitsa in the northeast of Estonia is home to around 160 nuns, all of whom have devoted their lives to the Russian Orthodox Church. The convent is located in one of the most polluted areas of Estonia, yet the clearest water rises from the holy well at the foot of the hill. The nuns are predominantly of Russian extraction and grew up in the Stalinist era. While the film depicts the ecclesiastic year parallel to the course of the seasons, it also addresses the question of why women with a communist education would dedicate their lives to God.