Romantic with armor and scope – actor Gunārs Cilinskis / Article

From November 25, viewers will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the actor’s life and creative work in the documentary “Through the Eye of an Object. Gunārs Cilinskis”, created by the experienced LTV journalist Ilze Strenga and director Guntis Sprendanis. The film includes photo, audio and video materials from LTV archives, Latvian Radio phonograms, press materials and a rich selection of film footage in which Cilinskis himself filmed and in which he was the director of these films.

Streng and Lememan ‘s duo previously made a story of memories of actors Uldis Pūcītis and the beloved symbol of the Awakening, singer Eduard Rosenstruhr. Once again, the filmmakers have put a tremendous effort into compiling the archive material, supplementing it with the protagonist’s own “voice” – one of the few radio interviews given by Cilinska in honor of his 60th anniversary, whose audio winds through the film.

Latvian actors, theater scientists, directors and cultural workers have shared personal and unusually open cognitions and feelings in the film. Among them – Varis Brasla, Jānis Streičs, Olga Dreģe, Mudīte Šneidere, Lia Guļevska, Baiba Indriksone, Rita Melnace, Edmunds Freibergs, Zane Jančevska, Gundars Āboliņš, Katrīne Pasternaka, Ingrīda Burāne, Juta Brauna, Kristina , Dita Rietuma, Ināra Slucka, Miks Zvirbulis, Valdis Eglītis. These are the people who have worked together with Gunārs Cilinski, his friends and contemporaries. Actors often call him a master of the melodrama genre. His films do not lack bright, heightened emotions, there is a place for pathos and drama. That is why what his contemporaries say describes Cilinski as a heartbreaker, which is liked by many colleagues and spectators. Cilinskis himself took the opportunity and, in spite of his status as a married man, has given in to his passions.

Olga Dreģe admits that the actor paid special attention to her, gave her dear lilacs, offered to go by boat, several members of the actor’s studio emphasize that Cilinska’s real and great love was actress Dina Kuple. They had already arranged a wedding, but everything was decided by the fact that the then popular Velta Līne was expecting a child with Cilinska.

Gunārs Cilinskis, Velta Līne, “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, 1959

Photo: from the archives of the Latvian National Theater

It was born in the life of a “couple of stars”, whose marriage broke down with the tragic death of Cilinskis, rushing through Baltezers on the hot day of July 1992. Personally, what struck me most was Utah Brown’s delicate love story, which made me think about how happy an actor really was in his private life all his life.

The observations of the theater scientist Rita Melnace about Cilinska’s work in the theater are valuable, especially emphasizing the role of the romantic idealist Pelegrin in the director Mikhail Kublinsky’s play “Santa Cruz” in 1971, in which the actor played with his wife Velta Līna.


Gunārs Cilinskis, “Santa Cruz”, 1971

Photo: from the archives of the Latvian National Theater

Varis Brasla, who has worked with Cilinski on the direction of “Sonata of the Lake”, reveals the behind the scenes of filmmaking at that time. For example, the 1966 war drama “Nightingale” for Cilinskim in partnership with the Polish actress Paul Raksha meant an unprecedented place for many film professionals of that time to experiment with the work of a cameraman, the use of acting and props. It was a time when many young talents were looking for their voice and style in the Soviet Latvian film industry, but for Cilinski, this was an organic bridge to the love of the entire Soviet Union. As you can see, Cilinskis was very connected in his role, which Brasla points out, mentioning that the actor’s inability to connect emotionally with his screen partners was characteristic of him often and a lot. “Everything can be done, but to open your intimate life to the end – no,” says Brasla.

Film critic Dita Rietuma describes Cilinski as a megastar who corresponded to the spirit of the time, embodying the image of an attractive, brave “alpha male” in almost every role in cinema. “He conformed to the stereotypes of European and Hollywood cinema in the sixties – a beautiful, strong, masculine image. In several films – a middle-aged man dressed in an elegant suit with a slight sense of self-irony,” says Dita Rietuma.

In 1967, Cilinski played a scout in Nikolai Kuznetsov’s spy drama The Strong Spirits, which effectively “overthrew the chairs” throughout the Soviet Union and opened the door to prosperity that was not insignificant at the time and to countless opportunities to be heard and seen. It is a pity that at the moment it is not possible to watch this “cash register digger” anywhere on the portal filmas.lv is available relatively a wide range of Cilinska filmsin which he has either played the role or directed it – “Captain Zero” (1964), the aforementioned “Nightingale” (1966), “Captain Enrico ‘s Clock” (1967), “In the Shadow of Death” (1971), “Oven “(1972). Also available are films from the 1990s with the participation of the actor – the last of them is “The Heiress of the Wolves” (1990). Of the nine films in which Cilinskis has already worked as a director, there is a fairly rich offer – of course, “Sonata of the Lake” (1976), directorial debut, “Night without Birds” (1979), “Strange Moonlight” (1987), ” Early Rust “(1979), also” Indrāni “(1991).

From what the actor and his contemporaries said, it can be understood that Cilinskis has always wanted to be in the director’s chair, and after the actor’s great success, he had that opportunity. “For such outstanding personalities who have won prizes and awards, recognition in the Soviet Union, the path to directing was easier or at least possible,” says Dita Rietuma. Nowadays, the actors who go to the other side of the “trenches” seem to take it for granted, because the experience gained allows them to realize personally chosen stories, scenarios, ideas, but in the Soviet Union it was really implemented only by Cilinskis and actress Dzidra Ritenberga.


Movie “Lake Sonata”

Photo: Publicity image

You can watch “Sonata of the Lake” on TV screens and now on streaming sites at least a hundred times. This film seems to be as popular as “Midsummer Night Limousine” and “My Friend – A Frivolous Man.” As long as these two are very witty everyday comedies, “The Sonata of the Lake” will always personally connect me to the unrequited love of Rudolf and Laura, which I want to say about every time – Laura, get it and take your happiness while it is! One can only guess why Cilinskis wanted to play the role of Rudolf so much himself. We will also never know if and to what extent the film is a reflection of Cilinska’s biography – the already well-known love story with Dina Kupli, which remained in the vivid memory of youth, or whether there were other fateful women about whom the actor was subtly silent.

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In an interview with Santai, Kuple’s daughter Arta Tone revealed that her mother had not mourned for a long time and had been quite pragmatic about the actor as a suitable candidate for her husband. “. This beauty, twisted into mysteries and mysteries, seems to hide all the beauty and magnetism of Cilinska’s personality. In the end, the actor himself admitted in his radio interview that he does not show his deepest feelings and experiences even to his closest friends, and perhaps none of the judgments and feelings of those around him would be true. However, anyone who still knows the actors has the right to at least their own personal experience and truths, and therefore their voices have an autonomous value in this documentary as well.


Gunārs Cilinskis, Astrīda Kairiša, Antra Liedskalniņa, “Blow, winds!”, 1968

Photo: from the archives of the Latvian National Theater

In today’s “yellow age”, it seems almost imperative to know the details of the “joy of bed” of famous actors and the twists and turns of divorce, so Cilinski would probably not seem so sympathetic to this time. Professionals in the film industry appreciate “Sonata of the Lake” as an old – fashioned melodrama, but the poetic scope of the film, the hidden dialogues and the physical sensuality hit the heart. The subtle interaction of nature and man with the romantic waters of the lake still remains. It is a pity that Cilinskis did not give the rest of us the much-anticipated “happy ending”. However, the actor has been kind in his own expressions of Rudolf.

I also saw Cilinski for the first time in the “Sonata of the Lake”, dressed in my famous coarsely knitted fisherman-Viking sweater, so for me Cilinski is neither Kuznetsov nor Pelegrin, but the contemplative and resigned Rudolf who paddles across the lake near Laura.


Gunārs Cilinskis in the film “Sonata of the Lake”, 1976

Photo: Publicity image

It is interesting that Latvian Radio journalist Lia Guļevska has called this sweater armor in her film, and maybe it is. Also, I am not very close to the theories about Cilinski as an irresistible lover, which makes him mindless and get into the actor’s car after the show. But every age needs its own idols – the ideal men to dream with open eyes and to send letters to in the nostalgia of unrequited love. By the way, it would be interesting to know whether the actors did not intimidate the women, who in their flight of fantasy balanced on the edge of reason and were ready to follow them in the blackness of the night. However, as the interview characters in the film point out, the actor must be worshiped, and Gunārs Cilinskis was clearly like that.

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