For the fourth time at the end of August, during the Baltic Way, the Baltic Film Days are taking place – free screenings in which cinema-goers in each of the three Baltic States are offered several films from neighboring countries. The Baltic Film Days will take place in Riga at the Splendid Palace cinema, on August 25 two Lithuanian films will be screened, on August 26 – two films from Estonia, the representatives of the National Cinema Center informed.
The Baltic Film Days are an initiative of three national film institutions – the National Film Center, the Lithuanian Film Center and the Estonian Film Institute – and a joint event, strengthening cinema co-operation between the three Baltic States and increasing viewers’ knowledge of neighboring films.
This year, each country has chosen two films from its neighbors’ latest works for the Baltic Film Days.
Juris Kursieš’s feature film “Oleg” (2019) and Edmunds Jansons’ Centennial animated film “Jacob, Mimmi and Talking Dogs” (2019) will travel to Estonia from Estonia, but in Lithuania our country will be represented by Jānis Ābele’s feature film “Jelgava ’94” (2019) and Anna The film “Homo Novus” (2018) in the Middle Ages.
Each neighboring country is sending one feature film and one documentary to Latvia this year.
The Baltic Film Days in Latvia are now traditionally held at the Splendid Palace cinema, and again this year the cinema institutions have decided not to postpone the event to the Internet environment 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.
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, professor of geography Kazis Pakšts (in the film – Felix Gruodis, in the role of Alekss Kazanavičius) tried to persuade the government to save Lithuania from an already imminent 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) screened 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 in a not very pleasant way. 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 at the Venice Art Biennale (2019), which was created together with like-minded people.
Estonian Day is August 26 this year, and the neighbors offer Latvian cinemas the feature film “Scandinavian Silence” (2019), which is a co-production of a low-budget Estonian, French and Belgian budget. The film’s director Marti Helde is one of the most talented Estonian directors, and he gained international recognition with his debut film In the Crosswind (2014), an artistically bold and conceptual message about deportation. 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 journey of a boy and a girl 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 “A 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 organized by the National Film Center, supported by the Riga City Council and the Ministry of Culture, the Lithuanian Film Center and the Estonian Film Institute.
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