'Chronicles of Melanie' to compete for Academy Award

The Chronicles of Melanie, a film about a woman deported to Siberia, is Latvia's 2017 pick for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film, the National Film Center told the press September 4. 

The film is based on the life of Melānija Vanaga (1905-1997), a Latvian writer who survived deportation to Siberia. Directed by Viesturs Kairišs.

An expert panel set up by the National Film Center decided to nominate the film as a "stylistically unified and epic work with a strong protagonist, expressive visual solutions and great actors". It is touted as a work that carries meaning for Latvian history and culture.

It is based on Vanaga's book Veļupes krastā (English title: Suddenly, a Criminal). First published in 1991 after Latvia reinstated its independence, the book describes the author's experiences during 16 years of involuntary exile in Siberia after being deported in 1941.

The Soviet Union carried out two mass deportations - one in 1941, another in 1949 - from Latvia. About 17,000 people were deported from Latvia in June 1941. 

It premiered in Latvia on November 1, 2016 and more than 75,000 people saw it through November and December, making the Chronicles of Melanie the most popular movie in Latvia last year.

Read more about the film HERE

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