I am a big fan of Ivars Zviedris, Latvian director and cinematographer. His «Documentarian» and «Latvian Coyote» are films that I think high of and now there is his new work that was awarded at the National Cinema Ceremony, where Zviedris received the Best Documentary Director – the lielaja-kristapa – award.
Ivars Zviedris is in a way a classical documentarian – I have the impression that he graps his camera to go to film trusting his intuition and eye for situations. And People. It is obvious that he has no problems in getting in contact with those he wants to film, those whose stories he wants to convey. He is curious and pretty far from having an academic approach. He listens.
I have chosen to bring to you the synopsis of the film by copying it from the catalogue of the Riga FF. It is precise and thank you for calling the people in the film «protagonists» and not characters…:
The film begins with the closing of the oldest prison in Latvia – the Brasa Prison was built in 1905 and cannot ensure normal functioning. Inmates are leaving the place that has long been their only home.
Our protagonists reside in Ward 207. They have really inhabited it – there is even a fish tank in the ward! They are not from a different planet. Humanity of the inmates may contrast with their records of committed crimes. All have their small pleasures and big plans. All are longing for changes and being afraid of them. Likewise, the term of imprisonment is running out for several of our protagonists. They are getting ready for life at large. They know how to survive in extreme circumstances but are unprepared for living a normal life. One’s return to the big world is one of the most accentuated marginal situations.
Latvia, 2021, 80 mins.