«Chronicles of Melanie» to premiere

Tuesday will see the Latvian premiere of the film Melānijas hronikas ('The Chronicles of Melanie') - based on the life of Melānija Vanaga, a Latvian writer who survived deportation to Siberia. Directed by Viesturs Kairišs, the film will premiere internationally at the Tallinn Black Nights Festival on November 21.

The film is a co-production between Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic. The film was shot in parts of Latvia, including Pilda, as well as Karelia. 

"The key motif of the film is the heart-rending story of the deported Latvian women, who had to endure life in Siberia, overcome the suffering and survive to come home eventually and live in Latvia," said production company Mistrus Media.

The title role will be played by Sabine Timoteo, who was named the 2015 best film actress in Switzerland. She will star alongside acclaimed actors like Erwin Leder, from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Raoul Ruiz’s Klimt, as well as Viktor Nemets, who starred in the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa’s film My Joy.

Melanie's son is played by Edvīns Mekšs, whose grand-grand parents were among the 72 people from Pilda parish who were deported from 1941 to 1949. 

While his grandmother Genovefa partook in a crowd scene. "My grandfather was 63, but my grandmother 59 ... I told [Edvīns] that the parents of your grandfather rest in Siberia. When he was selected for the film, I thought, perhaps there is a God, if he got to play in such a film, as his blood lies in far-away Siberia," Genovefa Mekša told Latvian Radio.

Viesturs Kairišs - curiously transcribed to 'Viestur Kairish' in the poster, perhaps giving away the director's international ambitions - is an opera, film and theater director.

Kairišs has won a National Film Award and his films have appeared in international festivals. He received an award for the best debut at the Raindance Film Festival.

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