Filming began on the story of picturesque Gauja National Park (GNP) in the province of Vidzeme, but turned instead into a character portrait of park ranger and nature inspector Maris Mitrevics, nicknamed Mitrais, or the “Wet Guy” in translation.
Mitrais, who was originally cast just to play a recurring support role in the story, soon turned into its main hero. He was the first truly professional ranger-nature inspector to work in the GNP.
Director Dainis Klava explains: “He’s a good guy, with stable and clear thoughts, very wise, knowledgeable, a wonderful psychologist, with tremendous internal energies, not even a tree could stop him. A king cannot act on his own, he needs his court and Mitrais’ court is the natural world, the landscapes, the woods, the meadows.”
The breathtaking merit of Mitrevics’ life’s work is visible in the very landscapes of the Gauja River’s ancient forested valleys. It’s thanks to him that one of Latvia’s priceless natural treasures hasn’t turned into private residential areas that might have ruined the rustic vistas at which Latvians so love to gaze.
“Those whom I must sometimes catch (for violating park rules), it seems they actually believe I might bite or eat them, there’s this great psychological pressure coming from me, but it’s natural, I’m not acting,” says Mitrais of his own stern approach to enforcing the law and controlling people’s behavior inside his natural domain.
It was agreed that Mitrais could take his shotgun with him to the November 23 premiere of Klava's documentary portrait-film about him in case he didn’t like what he saw. But it seems no shots had to be fired.