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PRODUCTION Latvia / Czech Republic / Lithuania

Viesturs Kairišs wraps filming on City on the River

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- The director of The Chronicles of Melanie has finished principal photography on another period piece, expected for release in January 2020

Viesturs Kairišs wraps filming on City on the River
City on the River by Viesturs Kairišs (© Agnese Zeltiņa)

Latvian film, theatre and opera director Viesturs Kairišs, best known for The Chronicles of Melanie [+see also:
film review
trailer
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]
, the country's 2018 Oscar submission and a local box-office hit (see the news), has wrapped principal photography on his highly anticipated new film, City on the River [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
. The movie was shot in Riga, Latgale (East Latvia) and Lithuania for 37 days between February 2018 and April 2019, during both winter and summer.

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Billed as “a tragicomedy about the ultimate triumph of human virtues in the face of systematic, institutional inhumanity”, and based on the novel of the same name by Gunārs Jankovskis, City on the River covers the period between the late 1930s and the end of World War II. It features non-professional actor Dāvis Suharevskis in the role of Ansis, a young sign-painter in demand by both the communist and the fascist regimes, whose life is about to change owing to the impending war.

Ansis is also caught in a bizarre love triangle – he is in love with a Jewish girl, Zizla (Czech actress Brigita Cmuntová, from Family Film [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Olmo Omerzu
film profile
]
), but a marriage is impossible owing to religious and social prejudices. Then, Ansis falls for Latvian girl Naiga (Agnese Cīrule, from Exiled [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and will encounter numerous obstacles in both relationships. Will Ansis manage to hold on to his ideals, or will the war break him?

City on the River also stars Gundars Āboliņš and Lithuania's Juozas Budraitis, and The Chronicles of Melanie’s DoP Gints Bērziņš and art director Ieva Jurjāne are collaborating with Kairišs once again on this title.

The film is a co-production by Latvia's Ego Media, the Czech Republic's 8Heads Productions and Lithuania's Artbox. Post-production will be carried out in the Prague-based studios Sleepwalker and Magic Lab. Expected to be released in January 2020, City on the River will be distributed in the Baltic territories by ACME Film.

Meanwhile, the film's Latvian production company, Ego Media, is also working on the animated documentary My Favourite War by Ilze Burkovska-Jakobsen, in co-production with Norwegian firm Bivrost Film&TV.

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