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The Berlin Golden Bear Nominee ‘Transit’ will open the new programme BERLINALE 2018 RIGA

The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Riga introduces a film programme BERLINALE 2018 RIGA that demonstrates the power of expression and diversity of German cinema and includes films screened during this year’s Berlin Film Festival. The programme will be opened with the Golden Bear Nominee Transit, a full-length feature by Christian Petzold.

Transit is the final part of Christian Petzold’s trilogy Love in Times of Oppressive Systems. Similar to the highly acclaimed preceding parts Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014), it has also gained a considerable recognition of audiences and film critics alike. But Franz Rogowski’s distinguished acting will also shine in another BERLINALE 2018 RIGA film, In the Aisles (In den Gängen, 2018).

The story of the film winds through the French transit town Marseille as an eternal road to a place where the loops of time bring in despair and hopelessness that erode the people’s destinies. A refugee gets hold of the legacy of a writer who has committed suicide – a manuscript, some letters from his wife and the Mexican Embassy’s assurance of a visa. It seems just reasonable to assume the deceased person’s identity…

The film is based on Anna Seghers’ eponymous autobiographic novel written during WWII. And it is likened to ‘a Kafkaesque Casablanca’. Skilfully merged past and present wipes out the border between that what was and what is. Problems that the protagonists face in 1942 resonate with the situation nowadays.

The director says, ‘In the book, the transit space is a geographical space between Europe and the United States. People are in the port city, and thus the space between the land where we are and the sea we want to travel over. So, this is the horizontal transit space. But I think that there is also a vertical kind of transit space, and that is time, and the stories that develop over time. And so, we not just find ourselves between the United States and Europe, or between land and water, but we also find ourselves trapped in yesterday’s time and today. (…) To go forward we first need to remember. Today, we quite frequently act as if we’ve actually made progress as compared to the past – we are free, we can wear whatever we want to, and we are consumers who have a choice. But actually, it’s still all just consumerism and hedonism… Many ghosts of the past start to return.’

Tickets to the screening of Transit are already available on the festival website

The Riga International Film Festival will take place from October 18 – 31. Its screening venues will be cinemas Splendid Palace, KSuns and Kino Bize, as well as the National Library of Latvia. The audience will be presented with more than 100 films in 12 programmes, diverse industry events, and a range of thought provoking public discussions.

The RIGA IFF is supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia, the European Commission’s programme Creative Europe – MEDIA, the National Film Centre of Latvia, and the Riga City Council.