Latvia

Vitaliy Manskiy – Svideteli Putina AKA Putin’s Witnesses (2018)

Drawing on his own archive, lauded filmmaker Vitaly Mansky gives a close account of a turning point in Russia’s recent history. In a surprise move on December 31, 1999, the first president of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin handed over the reins to his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin. Putin’s Witnesses covers his first year in power. Putin led the country back to Soviet-style nationalism, and has employed tyrannical methods to remain in power ever since. That knowledge casts an eerie shadow over the filmed material. Read More »

Ieva Balode – Commission (2020)

The story of a film “Commission” starts in Georgia at some unknown point of time where a heroic, mythical female character has written a book which is being delivered by a courier (the artist herself) to three powerful women. The content of a book is hidden within an existing book – “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” written by Medieval Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli who dedicated the book to 12th century Queen Tamar who at the time brought prosperity and many social changes in the country. Being used as a secret shell or a reference to female power from the past, the freshly embedded content of a book serves as manifesto to the women who haven’t been equally appreciated due to history books still being written from male perspective. The book offers alternative gaze to a world history which can exist only in utopian science-fiction film commissioned and executed by females only. Read More »

Anna Ansone – Klusa Daba AKA Still Life (2020)

Elina returns to the summer house of her childhood to show it to buyers. The visceral presence of her dead grandmother forces her to reflect on the legacy of failing familial relations – and how she and her mother are approaching a similar fate. Read More »

Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen – My Favorite War (2020)

A personal, animated documentary about the director’s life growing up in Latvia during the Soviet era 1970-1990, where Sovjet used WW2 as an ideological weapon to suppress and scare the population. Read More »

Renars Vimba – Es esmu seit AKA Mellow Mud (2016)

A resourceful teenage girl fights – literally, on occasion – to cling to her modest dreams for the future when the realities of life in rural Latvia threaten to rent apart what’s left of her family. Not that there is much of Raya’s (Elīna Vaska) immediate clan still around. Following the death of their father, she and her younger brother Robis (Andžejs Jānis Lilientāls) live in a state of low-level warfare with their acidic paternal grandmother, in a cottage surrounded by churned mud. Raya has invested her hopes in her mother, who emigrated to the UK and has lost contact with her children. Read More »

Aigars Grauba – Rigas sargi AKA Defenders of Riga (2007)

The film dramatizes November 11, 1919- a crucial date in the battle for Latvian independence. A year after the end of the official hostilities of WWI, a renegade German general and troops remain outside the Latvian capital. Latvian riflemen, most of them inexperienced volunteers, somehow managed to defeat a larger, better-armed force of German and Russian mercenaries. Read More »

Audrius Stonys – Woman and the Glacier (2016)

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The Lithuanian scientist Ausra Revutaite has spent 30 years in the Tian Shan mountain range in Central Asia, straddling the borders between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the autonomous Chinese region of Xinjiang. Some 3,500 meters above sea level with only her faithful dog and gray cat for company, she studies climate change on the Tuyuksu Glacier at an old Soviet-era research station. She loves the solitude and silence that her painstaking work brings her. Magnificent shots of her surroundings and everyday work are interspersed with archive footage of the people who preceded her by a century. Not much seems to have changed. Read More »