The last Estonian film set in the Middle Ages dates back to 1984. And finally, after 38 years, a crime thriller about a 15th-century Tallinn pharmacist was made by Estonian filmmakers.
The museum had the opportunity to open up the story of the film and its medieval background.
The Tallinn City Museum’s ‘Archaeological Autumn’ series of lectures and tours, now in its seventh year, focused on the truthfulness of historical films and books.
A TRIP ALONG THE PATHS OF THE FILM “MELCHIOR THE APOTHECARY”
What was Tallinn like in 1409, and what has remained of it today? What was used to cover the windows when there was no glass? Where did Tallinn’s first Apothecary live and from whom did people buy their medicine before him? The tour will show the city through the eyes of the Apothecary Melchior. The nuances of making a historical film will be explained. Can 15th-century Tallinn even be portrayed realistically?
The tour starts at the Kiek in de Kök artillery tower. From there, the route takes you through Toompea, owned by the Teutonic knights, to the Lower Town ruled by the Hanseatic merchants. Along the way, you will visit the 600-year-old Raeapteek pharmacy, taste the pharmacy schnapps and Panis Martius. The excursion ends at the Tallinn City Museum, where 15th-century artefacts preserved in the collections will be presented.
Wear comfortable shoes, the right clothes and off to an adventure!
The tour lasts 2 hours.
“HOW THE FILM ABOUT MELCHIOR THE APOTHECARY WAS MADE”
A photo exhibition “How the film about Melchior the Apothecary was made” is open in the Kiek in de Kök tower. It presents moments from the filming of all three “Melchior the Apothecary” films.
In addition to the photographs, the exhibition also included some costumes used in the film and some artefacts from the collections of Tallinn City Museum.
We thank the film crew of ” Melchior the Apothecary”, Apollo and Agenda P.
Exhibition team: Curator Küllike Tint, texts by Küllike Tint ja Veiko Esken (producer), Adeele Tähemaa (executive producer), Olle Mirme (screenwriter), Mari-Liis Bunder, photographer Robert Lang, costume designer Mari-Liis Bunder, production designer Anne Järvpõld, consultant Anneli Jalava.
Tallinn City Museum’s annual archaeology series brought historians and archaeologists to present the latest research.
In its seventh year, Archaeological Autumn lecture series continued on the paths of literature and cinema, focusing mainly on the “Melchior the Apothecary” films that were released in 2022.
Riina Rammo: “An archaeologist’s view of clothing in medieval Livonian towns”. Riina Rammo is an Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Tartu, who studies archaeological textiles.
Martin Malve: “Violence, Medicine and the Church of St. Olaf in the Light of Melchior the Apothecary”.
Martin Malve is an osteologist, or researcher of human bones. In his presentation, he gave examples of how it is possible to identify what diseases or wounds people suffered during their lifetime and what these wounds look like on their bones. He also discussed whether arsenic or other poisoning, for example, can show up in any way on people’s bones.
The second half of the lecture focused on the 2020 excavations of the St. Olaf church. In the presentation.
Monika Reppo: “A cure for every ailment: glass pharmacy jars and bottles”.
Monika Reppo is a researcher of archaeological glass. In her presentation, she discussed the medicinal vessels that were widespread in the Tallinn area in the Middle Ages and whether this is consistent with what the film shows.
Ain Mäesalu: “Armament and warfare in medieval fiction (mainly through the example of “Apothecary Melchior”)”.
Ain Mäesalu is an archaeologist who has mainly studied finds relating to military weapons and armour. In his presentation, he analysed precisely this part of the film “Apteeker Melchior”, but also gave examples from other films concerning the Middle Ages.
PHOTOS ABOUT FILMMAKING
Shooting of the first film of “Melchior the Apothecary” at the Cinevilla film location in Latvia: by Robert Lang.
Shooting of the film in the Danish King’s garden and a tour of the streets of Tallinn: Meeli Küttim, Tallinn City Museum.