Agnese Logina, curator at Riga Film Museum
Critics meeting series of lectures and discussions (October 25-27)
Michael is a cocky and young critic who's already known in the world, at least in film circles. He's very erudite with a very broad outlook, but he hasn't yet fallen into the self-deception and self-satisfaction characteristic to old critics.
The Boy (October 19 screening of the Latvian 1977 film by Aivars Freimanis)
This is not by any means easy watching, but it's a classic. It's just been restored and has English subtitles.
Kids weekend (October 20-21)
Then there's this. It's for children and families. And during this program you feel, for a minute, wow - I want to be a child again. The fact that it can get this good makes me want to have children too.
Film critic Daira Āboliņa's picks
Breathing Into Marble. Director Giedrė Beinoriūtė (2018, Lithuania)
It's a young Lithuanian director's paraphrase about the topic of lovelessness. Does a child have genetic memories of being unwanted by his parents, even if he ends up into a good family? It's a family drama that examines the lack of trust between people. It's a topic that has no nationality... Films from Chaplin and Antonioni to Zvyagintsev to Vimba have examined this across cinema history. The relationships between a child and a family, a child and his mother/non-mother. A brother/non-brother. The director can find a nerve of pain. The Latvian composer Vestards Šimkus wrote the score, and for that he's been nominated for the National Film Award.
7 Billion Years Before the End of the World. Director Jānis Ābele (2018, Latvia, France)
It's a love store between two Latvian youths, destined to bloom in southern France. It's a relationship film, a genre not represented much in Latvia and one that's all but made for expressing the talents of the director and cinematographer, who are making their debut with this film. It's a sensual, visually expressive and brittle film that is essentially based on the two protagonists, the attraction between a man and a woman. The film's authors use many cultural references that make the simple story much more tight and suitable for interpretation. Premiere.
U-July 22. Director Erik Poppe. (2018, Norway).
The name of the film clearly defines its containing drama -- the maniacal murderer Breivik's attack on a youth camp. Nevertheless the film's artistic value depends not only on delicately working the documentary testimony about the tragedy and interviews with survivors and the victims' relatives, but also the special attitude of the film and the manner of the way the story is told cinematographically. The film is basically shot as a close-up of a single girl who desperately tries to find her straying sister across the slaughter. The atmosphere of the film is underpinned by the extreme fear she experiences. As the fear is growing, the director manipulates signs, details and fields of color, making the stress pass into the audience as well.