The sixth annual Baltic Film Festival in Boston will present three days of the latest award-winning films from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
World-class feature films and documentaries for all generations offer a unique opportunity to get to know the Baltic soul – creative, reflective, and rebellious. Organized by The Baltic Film Committee and The American National Latvian League, in collaboration with ArtsEmerson.
Emerson Paramount Center
559 Washington St Boston, MA 02111
A panel discussion with filmmakers: Anna Ansone (director Can’t Help Myself), Tanel Tatter (producer Melchior), Veiko Esken (producer Melchior), Zivile Gallego (producer Remeber to Blnk & Muza), Vytautas V. Landsbergis (director The Poet), Agnė Marcinkevičūtė (director, Mūza), Helga Merits (director The Paradox of Seabrook Farms), Uģis Olte (director Sacrificial Lamb & RadiRaidi), Marianne Ostrat (producer Smoke Sauna Sisterhood), Dita Rietuma (Director of the National Film Centre of Latvia, film critic, historian and educator), Giedrius Tamoševičius (director The Poet), Stanislavs Tokalovs (director Soviet Jeans), Betija Zvejniece (director Experts of Youth).
1 Hour 54 Minutes | PG-13 In Estonian with English subtitles
Fri, Mar 01 @ 7:00 pm
USSR-China border, 1973. Rafael, is in the army on guard duty when the border falls under attack from flying Chinese kung fu warriors. Utterly fascinated by the long-haired Chinese hippie black-clad kung fu aces flying around blasting forbidden Black Sabbath music from their portable radio Rafael gets struck by a revelation; he too wants to become a kung fu warrior. Faith leads Rafael to an Orthodox monastery where the black-clad monks do their training but his road to achieving the almighty power of humility required is long, winding and full of kick-ass adventures.
1 Hour 49 Minutes | PG-13 In French, Lithuanian with English subtitles
Sat, Mar 02 @ 10:00 am
A french couple adopt 2 lithuanian kids. To help them adapt they hire Gabi, a bilingual student. Cultural differences, mismatched attitudes, disparate values and diverse educational methods soon ignite conflicts between the adults.
Melchior the Apothecary. The Executioner’s Daughter (Estonia, 2022)
Apteeker Melchior. Timuka tütar
1 Hour 30 Minutes | PG-16 In Estonian with English subtitles
Sat, Mar 02 @ 12:55 pm
In the third film of medieval thriller, Melchior’s wife Keterlyn witnesses a brutal attack. The life of an unknown young man is saved, but the victim who has lost his memory does not know who he is and how he ended up in Tallinn. A ring found at the scene leads Melchior to the night brotherhood, the bizarre troupe who performed on Fair Day also raises questions. Frightening signs suggest that not only the unknown recovering from the attack is in danger, but also Melchior and Keterlyn, who are treating him. At the same time, the pope’s envoy, known as a ruthless witch-hunter, arrives in the city.
5 min Q&A with producer Veiko Esken, Tanel Tatter, and make-up artist Gristina Pahmann.
RadiRaidi (2023), Sacrificial Lamb (2023), Can't Help Myself (2022), Experts of Youth (2023)
1 Hour 10 Minutes | PG In Latvian with English subtitles
Sat, Mar 02 @ 3:30 pm
RadiRaidi: The Voice. The legend of the radio broadcast. Can there be news bad enough for him not to handle?
Sacrificial Lamb: In this allegory about paradise lost, Ildze yearns to find peace and fulfillment by moving from the city to the countryside. However, her thoughts are consumed by the illness of her child, her estrangement from her husband and his absence. In the meantime, Ildze’s grief is enveloped by nature’s promise of comfort, which never arrives. She tries to understand where to find the beginning of the cycle of sacrifice and where to find its end. And who is her victim, or is it herself?
Can’t Help Myself: As Estere is selling ice cream on the Baltic Sea coast, she listens to guided online meditation sessions and to positive affirmations. Alongside her self-help odyssey, other beach-goers try to cope with the help of Tarot cards, alcohol or the Holy Bible. Longing for contact but stuck in self-doubt, Estere starts to imitate overheard conversations: stuck in positive self-verbalisation, she repeats it until she believes it.
Experts of Youth: Five twenty-somethings, in search of an authentic life, move into an isolated country house full of books. Living in the carelessness of youth, with time,practical problems and the immature nature of young people create tension. Everyone has romanticized the idea of an independent and responsibility-free life – running away from reality, they run right into it.
5 min Q&A with directors Anna Ansone, Uģis Olte, Betija Zvejniece
1 Hour 40 Minutes | Rated PG-13 In Latvian, Russian, English with English subtitles
Sat, Mar 02 @ 5:45 pm
Renars – R&R fan and a scammer – is committed to a mental asylum, where he starts an underground jean manufacturing for his survival. He partners with the Director who gets a good profit and in return promises Renars freedom. The jeans gain popularity and Renars becomes an anonymous underground legend. Eventually, KGB corners Renars, but they can’t prove anything. The conflict between Renars and the KGB agent, Maris, rises beyond the jeans and the criminal matters, it becomes a clash of life ideologies and form of protest, a cause.
5 min Q&A with director Stanislavs Tokalovs & producer Aija Bērziņa
1 Hour 44 Minutes | PG In Lithuanian, French, English, Russian with English subtitles
Sat, Mar 02 @ 8:30 pm
This documentary film – a journey between Vilnius, Paris, Geneva and Budapest together with the charming and gifted Lithuanian pianist Mūza Rubackytė takes the viewer to the beautiful world of art music. However, like every success story, Mūza’s has also had its dramas, especially since the aspirations and dreams of her youth were imprisoned in an airtight environment by the Soviet regime. The artist opens up about what freedom, love and calling mean to her, and what revealing her talent cost. The film involved many international participants and experts.
5 min Q&A with director Agnė Marcinkevičūtė &producer Zivile Gallego
The history of the Seabrook family who created Seabrook Farms is similar to a Greek tragedy of betrayal — of creating and destroying possibilities — where behind the scenes, each with their own heart-breaking story, a diverse community of refugees and immigrants lived and worked.
In the 1950s Seabrook Farms was the biggest frozen food processing plant in the world and it needed farm and factory labour. The largest group of workers consisted of over 2,000 Japanese Americans who had been interned during the first years of the Second World War and had been looking for a new place to live. After the war refugees from many countries in Europe came to Sea-brook Farms, amongst them were some 900 Estonians and 200 Latvians.
1 Hour 29 Minutes | R In Estonian with English subtitles
Sun, Mar 03 @ 1:35 pm
No story too shameful, no burden too heavy to carry when you share it with your sisterhood… The Vana-Võromaa (region in South Estonia) smoke sauna tradition known as “savvusanna kombõ” and listed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is one of connecting family and friends to cleanse body and soul inside a place of peace and contemplation. Conflicts are left outside. In Filmmaker Anna Hints’ SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD, the history of the smoke saunas as a place of giving birth inspired them to focus on women who “come together in the protective darkness of the smoke sauna, share their deepest secrets and wash off the shame that has accumulated in their bodies”.
1 Hour 52 Minutes | PG-13 In Lithuanian, Russian with English subtitles
Sun, Mar 03 @ 4:10 pm
A talented poet who was expelled from the Lithuanian Soviet Writers’ Union for his anti-Soviet literature is recruited by the NKVD to establish contact with the partisans. In return he was promised a return to the elite of Soviet writers.
5 min Q&A with directors Vytautas V. Landsbergis & Giedrius Tamoševičius
1 Hour 20 Minutes | PG In Latvian with English subtitles
Sun, Mar 03 @ 7:10 pm
Riga, 1960s. Telephone assembler, self-made poet and composer Cēzars Kalniņš (Uldis Pūcītis) together with his friends plays in a band but the texts written by him seem to be immoral to the middle-aged cultural worker Anita Sondore (Dina Kuple) who puts obstacles for public performance of these songs. The public committee that discusses creative work of the young song writer turns into a metaphor of an anonymous and almighty opinion whose destructive impact cannot be stopped.
Director Rolands Kalniņš (1922) is one of the most talented personalities in cinema of Latvia and perhaps it is the reason why more than any other film director he was to experience repressions of censorship – not only in regard to the film Four White Shirts but with the film Stone and Flinders (1966) too, which was also kept “on the shelf” for 20 years but shooting of the film Maritime Climate (1974), was terminated altogether and the filmed footage destroyed.
15 min Q&A with Director of the National Film Centre of Latvia, film critic and historian Dita Rietuma