THE BALTIC FILMS THROUGHOUT A CENTURY



The small-scale retrospective of three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – demonstrates how gratifying it is when history provides a pretext to talk about what we have in common instead of lamenting about our differences and to leave the right to exercise heated debates to politicians. The space of cinema is broader than the sometimes intentionally narrowed political spaces, that is why the experience of modern-day Baltic cinema is of incredible interest to our audience. It is interesting to watch how the characters are painfully seeking ways of social adaptation in the new geopolitical situation which has not brought exclusively positive changes to these countries. It is interesting to trace the careful preservation of national traditions, when globalization has affected cinema in the first place. National traditions are not the only case in point, the Russian language is often heard in the cinema of Baltic states, mostly Latvian. In this modest program on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Baltic states we have made an attempt to combine modern cinema with the “Soviet” works by acknowledged masters like Grigori Kromanov, Ar?nas ?ebri?nas, Rolands Kalni?š and the effect might be amazing. It provides an opportunity to juxtapose the image of the West harbored by Soviet Baltic directors with the real present-day “West” which is now firmly rooted in these countries. But most importantly we have the chance to see how these movies cherish and carry on the wonderful traditions of the Baltic film classics ?alakevi?ius, Kiisk, Brench, whose art always seemed to carry some universal aesthetic code of national self-identification. In the present situation which in some respects is less complicated but in others is more difficult, the new generation of Baltic filmmakers needs it more than ever.
 
Pyotr Shepotinnik