Empty Space invokes a past memory, an apartment that once existed, and a small girl dwelling and playing there. It presents a story forged in the dreams of the father hiding from Soviet terror. Empty Space is a reconstruction of a vision on the backdrop of the anxieties of the 1950s in Soviet Union.
In 1944, Leonhard Lina (1914–1994), a former officer of Estonian Defence Forces, went into hiding to avoid capture and imprisonment. Trapped in a small hollow in the double ceiling of a potato storage and longing for his home, he built a miniature replica of it. He crafted altogether 217 tiny pieces of furniture and household items. The doll furniture was meant as a present for his daughter, Merike, whom he’d been forced to leave only a few months after her birth. Using whatever materials he could get, Leonhard made for her a perfect copy of their former apartment. Merike was already 10 years old when she finally got her present, after Leonhard received a message that he is not being accused of anything and can come out of hiding. By that time, Leonhard had been underground for 10 years.
Empty Space invokes a past memory, an apartment that once existed, and a small girl dwelling and playing there. It presents a story forged in the dreams of the father hiding in the potato storage. Empty Space is a reconstruction of a vision on the backdrop of the anxieties of the 1950s – the aftermath of the war, the mass deportations, the forced collectivization, the ambushing of the Forest Brothers.
The sets of the film use Leonhard Lina’s original doll furniture and a puppet fashioned after Merike’s childhood photos. Empty Space draws on interviews with Leonhard Lina’s daughter Merike.