Documentary examines the architectural aspirations of Ulmanis' dictatorship

LTV's series of short historical documentaries continues under the banner of 'The Keys' with a look at one of the most controversial periods of Latvian history.

A coup d'etat in 1934 saw Kārlis Ulmanis transformed from a hero of the independence struggle to a much more equivocal figure. Initially attempting to justify his power grab as a necessary to restore stability to the country, as the years passed he drifted ever further into the sort of extreme nationalism that was gripping a large part of Europe.

The documentary concentrates on one aspect of the Ulmanis dictatorship: an ambitious program to overhaul the architecture of the capital city which saw many old buildings demolished to make way for the grandiose approved architectural styles of the new regime.

Meanwhile the interiors of other buildings were remodeled according to an odd ideological mix of creative historiograpy, self-flattery and wishful thinking.

According to LTV "The Keys" series tells of the most important or "key" events, personalities and turning points in the history of the Latvian state from 1918 to the present. The purpose is to reveal each selected event from an unusual point of view, as if "unlocking the door" to lesser known and therefore particularly intriguing facts. 

"Such an exploratory approach, bypassing the usual stereotypes of presenting history, will allow viewers to perceive what is known to others and to better understand what has happened in the context of today's experience," says LTV.

The show is made by VFS Films, a long-time partner of Latvian Television and it is hosted by Mārtiņš Ķibilds, a distinguished cultural journalist who sadly passed away late last year.

 

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