Latvian cinema has travelled a long and artistically impressive path since its inception one hundred years ago – from nationally oriented, expressionistic silent cinema to classical mainstream cinema made within a studio system, from skillful management of various genres to auteur cinema and individual styles, through poetic documentary and musical-philosophical animation to Latvian cinema as an organic part of global cinema history. This section of filmas.lv, which will periodically be supplemented with new material, presents the most vivid moments of Latvian cinema in restored quality.
The capacity of a country’s film industry is often judged by the feature films it produces, and feature films are often also the most important criterion in the eyes of viewers. In this sense, the Latvian film industry can take deserved pride in its work – here, very different filmmakers have made a wide variety of films in terms of genre, style and theme. Latvian cinema is also strong in other areas, including outstanding acting, internationally recognised cinematography and refined visual aspects of filmmaking.
The high point of classical Latvian documentary film is marked by the Riga School of Poetic Documentary Cinema, which emerged in the 1960s and has since transformed and developed in different directions according to the talents and interests of individual filmmakers as well as inspired future generations.
Latvian animation has developed simultaneously and at approximately the same level in terms of quantity and quality in two parallel directions, both inspired and led by vivid personalities: two-dimensional animation – first in cutout technique, followed by drawn animation – and three-dimensional puppet animation, which captivates viewers through the magic of handmade dolls.