Baltic Pearl film festival brings cinematic gems to Latvia

The 24th annual Baltic Pearl movie festival starting on Wednesday will screen more than twenty movies throughout the week, featuring modern Russian films and screenings dedicated to the 90th birthday of Marilyn Monroe, reported Latvian Radio Tuesday.

Opening the festival will be Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. The story centers on a real story of an early 20th-century amateur soprano that became popular for her notable inability to sing.

Movie critic Daira Āboliņa called this year's Baltic Pearl program "bold" as it features the so-called festival movies, like Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake that won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year, polarizing the viewers who either cheered or booed the film in its festival screenings.

"This is a story about people who aren't usually told about in the movies. But it's told in such a richly emotional manner! There's humor there, the pain of life, the reality of life. It perhaps lacks the scale of a red carpet film but it has a human warmth and depth that's rarely seen in movies now," said Āboliņa.

Āboliņa also singled out Bruno Dumont's Slack Bay as a surprising movie.

"What Bruno Dumont does in this movie - I cannot tell that to you in words as, I think, no director ever has tried shooting a film in the genre of burlesque. It's a wonderful, outstanding and I would say an extreme movie adventure as it's so unique," said the movie critic.

The Russian film program "Window to Russia" will feature three new films from Russia, including St. Petersburg. Only with love. made up by seven film novels made by seven Russian directors.

"The film centers on love stories taking place in St. Petersburg - a city made for love. The film reveals the changing nature of love. It can be a gift, but also a challenge and even punishment to a person," said Aleksandr Mamontov of the St. Petersburg Film Festival.

The 24th Baltic Pearl festival will start Wednesday and take place until Monday.

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