How can we make cinema understandable, relatable and useful for the viewers of the younger generations and why do that? The answer to the latter question is easy – the youngest generation is a target audience that can grow up to become avid cinema goers, and then again – they might not, if cinema will continue to exist in the periphery of their interests in outdated forms and limited availability.
Perhaps the word about cinema has to be spread not only by using the educational system, where films are included as an addition to the curriculum or used as a learning tool? Perhaps we need to move the conversation about cinema to new grounds and new mediums, such as virtual reality?
Therefore the National Film Centre of Latvia would like to encourage you to explore the ways in which cinema as an independent medium and film – as an autonomous work of art – could be intertwined with virtual reality and the way our perception works in this medium.
Both mediums – film and VR – are immersive in their own ways. Film, for example, can thoroughly capture the spirit of an era, it also can capture the smallest details of an epoch, in order to preserve it for the future. In this sense, a film is a window to another time.
For example, two of the most popular feature films of the National Film Centre’s programme “Latvian films for Latvian Centenary” are based on classics of Latvian literature.
– Homo Novus, directed by Anna Viduleja is an adaptation of the well known novel by Anšlavs Eglītis. It transports the viewer to Riga of the thirties, which is a thriving European metropolis with a lively cultural life and stormy boheme. The film is an impressive look at the Latvian art history, as it contains some of the most important paintings, done by Latvian artists.
– Another facet of Riga in the thirties is shown in “Bille” – directed by Ināra Kolmane and based on the popular autobiographical book by Vizma Belševica. The city we see in “Bille” is not so shiny at all – the film shows how the city looks like from the perspective of workers, who dwell in Grīziņkalns – area defined by modest wooden houses and dusty courtyards. Children like the title hero Bille, who is growing up there, spend their days daydreaming and playing with self made toys.
What can virtual reality do to help the youth discover these films and times they refer to? Is it in VR’s power to extend the marvel of cinema?