Heartfelt reception of classic Latvian film at Cannes

Standing ovations accompanied the premiere of Rolands Kalniņš' classic flick Četri balti krekli (Four White Shirts), which was showcased at the Cannes Festival May 15 in the Cannes Classics program, reported Latvian Radio and LTV.

96-year-old director Rolands Kalniņš, and cinematographer Miks Zvirbulis were present at the screening of the film, which was kept from screening by the Soviet censors for 20 years since it was released in 1967. 

The Latvian delegation arrived to the screening wearing white shorts, film critic Daira Āboliņa told Latvian Radio.

"The reception was very warm...People who watched it in Latvian with subtitles in French and English found moments where they were laughing, where they could smile...all the while watching a film about the era of which they don't know anything," she said.

"Maybe what's most touching is that the director of the Cannes Classics program praised the work of the cinematographer in this film, saying it made it a carried the spirit of the New Wave. Miks Zvirbulis was very touched, saying he hasn't heard as much praise in his whole life as he heard within two minutes here in Cannes," said Āboliņa. 

Read a Cannes interview with the film's director HERE

Four White Shirts was initially shelved for its content and first appeared on screen only in 1986.

The scenario was based on Gunārs Priede's play Trīspadsmitā. The film stars Uldis Pūcītis, Līga Liepiņa, Dina Kuple, Pauls Butkēvičs and others. 

The film score was written at the heyday of important composer Imants Kalniņš with lyrics by poet Māris Čaklais; generations of Latvians know the songs from this film by heart. 

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