Parent Category: Film Festivals
Published on Friday, 07 September 2018 16:30
Written by Brad Balfour
Featuring the cinema of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the 2018 New York Baltic Film Festival will include 18 films and showcase 8 U.S. premiere screenings and 8 NYC premieres. Running October 18-21 at Scandinavia House (58 Park Avenue, NY, NY), the festival highlights the films of Northern Europe, and will include filmmakers Q&A’s after screenings and after-show networking events, along with the plethora of films, documentaries, shorts, and animation.
- The Devil’s Bride
One of the most startling films to come out of the Baltics in the 1970s, Its Faust-like plot about a demon promising riches to a mill owner in exchange for the hand of his daughter is the most conventional aspect of the picture. Of much more significance is that it is the first Lithuanian musical, often compared to a northern European variation on the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Its joint creators were director Arunas Zebriunas, composer Vyacheslav Ganelin, and scriptwriter Sigitas Geda.
- 511 Best Photographs From Mars
Estonian film makers had a delicious sense of humor even back in the occupation days, and exhibit number one is this droll look at the ladies and their gentlemen at tea in city cafeterias where the condiments included milk, lemon, and airs. Director Andres Soot’s sparkling music track includes the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Handel, and Strauss.
- Mother, I Love You
One of the most poignant films ever produced in Northern Europe, this Janis Nords directed feature follows the buffeted relationship between a single mother and her 13-year-old son, whose seemingly slight lie leads to increasing complications with school authorities and the police. Their emotional odyssey gains extra force from players who had never before acted for the cameras, one of the numerous details that have had critics compare the film to Francois Truffaut’s Four Hundred Blows.
- Running Lights
The animated short by Gediminas Siaulys is a model of color design in its naif science illustration of what happens to the corpse of a dead hare after some children bury it in a sandbox. From death comes renewed life.
- Merija's Journey
When the Germans retreated from Latvia in 1944, they took with them 700 boxes of art works and ancient manuscripts from the nation’s museums. They also took with them Marija Grinberga, who volunteered to keep her eye on the treasures until they could be returned home. This would end up costing her one tension-filled confrontation after another first with the Nazis, then with Soviet occupation forces in Riga. After successfully shepherding the materials back to Latvia, her reward was to be fired from her museum job. But it has been thanks to Grinberga that many of Latvia’s museums aren’t empty today. Kristine Zelve’s remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman includes a first hearing of diaries Grinberga kept while fending off the bureaucracies of two occupying powers.
If you thought the hardest part of establishing a nation was getting rid of an unwanted occupier, you haven’t seen this startling documentary by Raimo Jõerand and Kiur Aarma. With a humor as frantic as the often absurd situation it covers, the film makers show through period footage and exclusive interviews how Estonia put together a fledgling cabinet in the 1990s with infinitely more goodwill than money, how some of its closest neighbors refused to extend loans for diplomatic reasons, and how the government finally raised survival money through an unorthodox (and ironically vengeful) means.
To learn more, go to: https://www.balticfilmfestival.com/
2018 New York Baltic Film Festival
October 18 - 21, 2018
58 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016