PÖFF : BNFF

The Year Before the War

Local title
Aasta enne suurt sõda
Title in Russian
За год до войны
Original title
Gads pirms kara
Director
Dāvis Sīmanis
Country
Latvia, Lithuania, Czechia
Year
2021
Programme
Baltic Film Competition
Genre
historical adventure

The winter of 1913. A bilingual doorman of a posh Riga hotel has never been in a real war. At one mysterious meeting someone falsely recognizes him as communist traitor Piotr, who is on the run to hide in a Swiss sanatorium. Sigmund Freud guides the confused guest to even stranger psycho encounters with the bloodiest future ghosts to induce him to kill. Hans dangerously falls in love with spy dancer Mata Hari, curiously wanders through Europe till Franz Kafka leads him to Prague’s underground feast of anarchists, commanded by a far too crazy Vladimir Lenin.

Historical knowledge, insane imagination, silent cinema inspirations shake up hints about cynical utopian ideas to spread various revolutions, deportations, executions, genocides, wars. Intriguingly enough the B&W film also exists in colored version.

Edvinas Pukšta

Director
Dāvis Sīmanis
Screenwriter
Tabita Rudzāte, Uldis Tīrons, Dāvis Sīmanis
Cast
Petr Buchta, Lauris Dzelzītis, Ģirts Ķesteris, Gints Grāvelis, Dace Everss
Producer
Roberts Vinovskis, Uljana Kim, Radim Procházka
DoP
Andrejs Rudzāts
Editor
Anna Ryndova
Music
Faustas Latenas
Production
Studio Locomotive, Studio Uljana Kim, Produkce Radim Procházka
World sales
Studio Locomotive
Runtime
Language
German, Latvian, Russian
Subtitles
English
Director
Dāvis Sīmanis

Dāvis Sīmanis, PhD Arts, is a Latvian filmmaker and theorist. He has written and directed historical feature films, poetic documentary films and cross-genre features. His docu-fiction Escaping Riga (2014) is a story of two geniuses - philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin and film director Sergei Eisenstein, premiered internationally at IDFA 2014 and is still screened at documentary film festivals worldwide. Feature fiction film The Mover (2018) - the true story of the “Latvian Schindler” Žanis Lipke, was Latvia’s official candidate for best foreign-language film for the 2020 Oscars and premiered internationally at Moscow IFF, received National Film awards: Best Director; Best Production design; Best Cinematography; Best Supporting Actress.

Valkyrie Limited (2009, doc), Pasaules skana (2010, doc), Chronicles of the Last Temple (2012, doc), Escaping Riga (Põgenedes Riiast, PÖFF 2014), Pelnu Sanatorija (Exiled, 2016), D is for Division (2018, doc), Tēvs nakts (The Mover, 2018), Gads pirms kara (The Year Before the War, 2021)

Award for Best Baltic Film, grant of 3500 euros from Toyota

Screenings

Hall 9 Coca-Cola Plaza
Screening140702 / Aasta enne suurt sõda
SubtitlesEnglish
Screening duration
Hall 4 LUXE Coca-Cola Plaza
Screening150302 / Aasta enne suurt sõda
SubtitlesEnglish
Q&A guestsDavis Simanis - Director, Roberts Vinovskis - Producer, Dominiks Jamrakovics - Producer
Q&A duration
Screening duration
Virtual hall Online Cinema
ScreeningAasta enne suurt sõda
SubtitlesEnglish
Trailer