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Albert Serra’s Adult Libertine Fairy Tale Explores The Limits of Hedonism (18+)
The Spanish writer-director challenges the audience with his latest work Liberté. Adapted from his play which debuted at Berlin in 2018 and having had its premiere in Cannes, it – typically to Serra’s work – strictly parts the audience in those that do or do not accept to follow the director’s vision. The RIGA IFF screening will take place on the evening of October 23. The film – spanning more than 2 hours in duration – not only challenges the audience to immerse itself in the challenging territory of boundless satisfaction of the pleasure, but also to indulge in the multilayered message and lack of emotion characteristic of Marquis de Sade. Shortly before the French Revolution, the aristocrats expelled from the puritanical court of Louis XVI seek the support of the legendary Duc de Walchen, German seducer and freethinker. They aim to export libertinage – an extreme hedonism that rejects moral boundaries and authorities. But moreover – to find a safe place to pursue their errant games, where the quest for pleasure no longer obeys any laws. And they find themselves in a dark forest clearing... Bodies, impulses, desire. The libertines craved liberty. The film is asking what it is that this liberty leads to, which absence? And is this absence bearable? Serra wants the film to physically impact the viewer and produce the type of stunned state you can be in when you walk out of a night club in the early hours of the morning. When you can no longer distinguish what you’ve seen from what you’ve heard or what you’ve imagined.
Roy Andersson’s Divine Comedy Covers The Tragicomic Nature Of Life
Roy Andersson – characterised by his well-developed style of narration and aesthetics – returns to RIGA IFF. His latest film About Endlessness – the first since A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, with multiple festival's screenings in 2014 – is as odd and as alluring as the previous. It will be screened as a part of NORDIC HIGHLIGHTS on October 18 and 22. About Endlessness is a reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendour and banality. We wander, dreamlike, gently guided by a Scheherazade-esque narrator. Inconsequential moments take on the same significance as historical events: a couple floats over a war-torn Cologne; on the way to a birthday party, a father stops to tie his daughter’s shoelaces in the pouring rain; teenage girls dance outside a cafe; a defeated army marches to a prisoner-of-war camp. The director has developed such a genuinely distinctive and original way of making films that his works qualify as a genre of their own. Simultaneously an ode and a lament, this film presents a kaleidoscope of all that is eternally human, an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.
Xavier Dolan’s reflection on the private life of celebrities in the eyes of the public
As a part of the festival's section New Canadian Cinema – dedicated to the latest films from Canada – audiences will have the opportunity to see the latest film by Xavier Dolan titled The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. The polarising Canadian-born director's film – the production of which spanned several years – was premiered in Toronto International Film Festival, but the RIGA IFF screening will take place on October 24, at cinema Splendid Palace. A decade after the death of an American TV star, a young actor Rupert reminisces the written correspondence he shared with him, as well as the impact those letters had on their lives. Rupert Turner reveals all he knows about John's troubled life, what compromises John made for fame — and how John's tenderness and generosity inspired that little boy who was desperate to connect with the man he idolized. The film condemns the cruelty and prejudices that thwarted John's too-short life while celebrating the depth of his connection to those who truly loved him. Xavier Dolan’s seventh feature and first in English is a summation of key themes the Montreal writer and director often explores: gay alienation and shame, suburban resentment and fraught mother-son relationships. Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Kit Harington and Kathy Bates all star in major roles! Various biographical details of the director's life have been woven into the story.
The World premiere of the Kamēr… choir’s journey to the European Grand Prix
As part of the RIGA IFF programme, a special screening will feature the World premiere of Emīls Alps’ film Choir. Conductor. Kamēr… on the famous youth choir’s journey to the Tolosa Choral Competition, at which the grand prize had to be won to qualify for the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. Created by a member of the choir, the film offers unprecedented insight into the singers’ passion for music, loyalty among friends, and the overcoming of difficulties. The film will be screened on October 18 at the Splendid Palace cinema. Emīls Alps emphasises that this is his life's work. As the film’s director, his artistic style and creative vision have been strongly influenced by singing in choirs and vocal ensembles from an early age. This life-long experience has made it possible for him to capture moments that are usually never seen by outsiders. Aivis Greters had just taken on the position of chief conductor and artistic director of the world-renowned choir in 2018, and this year the choir Kamēr... has, for the third time in its history, triumphed at the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing.
Media accreditation is now open for the RIGA IFF 2019 (apply by September 20)
Media representatives are invited to apply for accreditation at the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF), allowing them to attend the festival's film screenings and industry events.  All applications can be made here until September 20, 2019. Every accreditation application will be assessed individually and the decision will be made known to all the applicants by no later than October 4.  In case of questions, please contact Inita Sila by emailing or calling +371 2 9103354‬. RIGA IFF will run from October 17-27 at cinemas Splendid Palace, KSuns, Kino Bize as well as the National Library of Latvia and Kanepes Culture Centre. The festival will feature over 100 film screenings, 11 film programmes as well as lectures, discussions and other special events.  
‘Beanpole’ Depicts a Devasted Postwar Leningrad Through the Eyes of a Woman
Leningrad in autumn of 1945. World War II has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Although the siege – one of the worst in history – is finally over, life and death continue their battle in the wreckage that remains. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins. It was important for the director to show the consequences of war through people’s faces, eyes, physiques, bodies, not just through abandoned or destroyed buildings. His main inspiration for Beanpole was the book The Unwomanly Face of War by the Nobel prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich. The producer believes that Balagov’s true strength comes from his realization of the drama and cruelty of life and his deep affection and empathy towards the people who are trying to overcome terrible obstacles. The film is being screened as part of Festival Selection.