Pirmdzimtais [Firstborn] (2017)

Director: Aik Karapetian
Writer: Aik Karapetian
Cast: Maija Doveika, Kaspars Znotins, Dainis Grube, Kaspars Zale
Seen on: 28.6.2019
[Screener Review.]

Katrina (Maija Doveika) and Francis (Kaspars Znotins) have been a couple for a while and things can be a little tense between them. When they are assaulted by a biker (Kaspars Zale), they are both pretty shellshocked. Katrina turns to a police officer for help, leaving Francis feeling inadequate: he couldn’t stop the assault in the first place and now he isn’t even good enough to help afterwards. Determined to prove his worth, he seeks out the biker himself, but their confrontation goes differently than planned.

Firstborn has a strong first half, but then lost me in the second half, unfortunately, when it becomes muddled, confusing and a little boring. But there’s a lot of material for thought about masculinity in the film, so that’s something.

The film poster showing Maija Doveika and Kaspars Znotins.
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Latviešu mīlestība [Latvian Love]

[Wiener Festwochen.]

Latvian Love is a play by Alvis Hermanis [German] and stars Guna Zariņa, Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš, Ģirts Krūmiņš and Kaspars Znotiņš. The actors improvised and wrote the scenes themselves.

Starting with reading real lonely hearts ad, Alvis Hermanis and his actors explore the first meetings of 13 couples in Latvia. Those meetings range from teenage poetry readings to two retirees who just want to make their lives a little easier by sharing it with someone.

Latvian Love is a wonderful play. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s beautiful. The actors are amazing, as is the costume and stage design (by Monika Pormale). It just runs a tad too long – 10 scenes would have probably been enough (though I wouldn’t really know which scenes to cut).

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