For the fourth time at the end of August, commemorating the historic Baltic Way, the Baltic Film Days will take place – free screenings offering several films from neighboring countries in each of the three Baltic States.
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According to Kristīne Matīsa, a representative of the Latvian National Cinema Center, the Baltic Film Days will take place at the Splendid Palace cinema in Riga, when two Lithuanian films will be screened on August 25 and two films from Estonia on August 26.
This year, for the Baltic Film Days, each country has chosen two films from the latest works of its neighbors, Juris Kursieš’s feature film “Oleg” (2019) and Edmunds Jansons’ Centennial animated film “Jacob, Mothers and Talking Dogs” (2019) will travel from Latvia to Estonia. will be represented by Jānis Ābele’s feature film “Jelgava ’94” (2019) and Anna Viduleja’s Centennial film “Homo Novus” (2018). Each neighboring country is sending one feature film and one documentary to Latvia this year.
On Lithuania Day, August 25, the audience will be offered a very popular feature film “Nova Lituania” (2019), which has already been awarded at several festivals, with which Karolis Kaupinis will make his debut in film directing. The nuanced, stylistically sophisticated film is based on historical facts, the action takes place in 1938, when a real historical figure, geography professor Kazis Pakšts (in the film – Felix Gruodis, in the role of Aleksas Kazanavičius) tried to persuade the government to save Lithuania from an already foreseeable historical catastrophe “on another continent. Only the main character of the film is really aware of the proximity of the catastrophe, but his dream of a possible paradise on earth is also fulfilled by the then Prime Minister of Lithuania.
Lithuania will also be represented by the documentary film “Acid Forest” (2018) shown at more than 40 festivals, an ironic and black humor-filled story filmed in an environment that would be suitable for horror films or thrillers. At one time, near Nida, there was a pine forest – until the cormorants settled in the forest and began to destroy it. The documentary is skilfully constructed using “eye drama”, in which everyone watches everyone – tourists, who often come to the “acid forest” to see the birds and their ruined landscape, have also become objects observed by cormorants.
The film’s director Rugile Barzdzukaite works in both theater and cinema, among her most famous works is the Lithuanian pavilion created at the Venice Biennale of Art (2019) together with like-minded people, for which he also received a significant award – “Golden Lion” for the best national pavilion.
Estonian Day this year is August 26, and the neighbors offer Latvian cinemas the feature film “Scandinavian Silence” (2019), which is a co-production of low-budget Estonia, France and Belgium. The film’s director Marti Helde is one of the most talented directors of the Estonian new generation, he gained international recognition with his debut film “In the Crosswind” (Through, 2014) – an artistically bold and conceptually formed message on the topic of deportations. Screened at many major festivals and winning international awards, Scandinavian Silence is a visually nuanced, psychological drama with elements of tension that fills a seemingly simple car and girl journey in a car with the shadows of the past and unresolved problems before revealing dramatic events. for years.
The Estonian documentary in this year’s Baltic Film Days program is “The Year Full of Drama” (2019). The debut of the young Estonian director Marta Pulk captures an unusual experiment – a unique job offer is announced in Estonia, inviting people who have never (or almost never) visited the theater to respond. The winner of the competition is offered a paid job – to become a professional theater spectator for one year and write down their impressions on the blog. The competition is won by a young girl from Valga – Alicia, who grew up in a Russian-speaking family and has not encountered Estonian theater so far. By capturing Alice’s life throughout the year, the documentary becomes a clear demonstration of how theater and art can influence and transform a young person’s life.
The Baltic Film Days in Latvia are now traditionally held at the Splendid Palace cinema, and again this year the film institutions have decided not to move the event to the Internet to support cinemas and the culture of watching films in cinemas. Admission to all screenings of the Baltic Film Days is free, and the Splendid Palace cinema is prepared to comply with the rules of social distancing and epidemiological safety.