16 Sep - The 'Samurai Rauni' Riga International Film Festival... premiere?

September 16, 2017.

I am.. or rather was... on holiday, and clearly not doing any premieres. Oh, sure, I had part of 3 days in Berlin and I *always* check to see if anything is on in the German capital while I'm in town (there wasn't). But Riga in Latvia? Hardly...

Here's how it went down...

Thursday, 14th September. I'd barely dropped my suitcase off at my 'possibly-post-communist era-apartment-turned-hotel' a few blocks from the (admittedly very pretty) old town, when I happened to spy a car parked near the Bus Terminal : there's a FILM FESTIVAL ON!!

Thursday, 14th September. I'd barely dropped my suitcase off at my 'possibly-post-communist era-apartment-turned-hotel' a few blocks from the (admittedly very pretty) old town, when I happened to spy a car parked near the Bus Terminal : there's a FILM FESTIVAL ON!!

Friday, 15th September. After a check online, I identify the first possible event I might actually be able to get to that might constitute a premiere for this purposes of this website. I don't see any pens, carpet, security, sniffer dogs, bag checks (or, weirdly, autograph dealers) - but I do see these two gentlemen get out of an official vehicle. As I was unable to identify them, I decide this does not constitute a premiere.

Friday, 15th September. After a check online, I identify the first possible event I might actually be able to get to that might constitute a premiere for this purposes of this website. I don't see any pens, carpet, security, sniffer dogs, bag checks (or, weirdly, autograph dealers) - but I do see these two gentlemen get out of an official vehicle. As I was unable to identify them, I decide this does not constitute a premiere.

Saturday, 16th September. (Ironically much like the opening title card of the film) I realise that I must be the mountain that Moves in order to Make Something Happen. So for 5 euros, I buy a ticket to "Samurai Rauni", an event that the filmmakers will attend. Even more excitingly, though it's a Finnish film being shown in Latvia, the screening is subtitled in English!

Saturday, 16th September. (Ironically much like the opening title card of the film) I realise that I must be the mountain that Moves in order to Make Something Happen. So for 5 euros, I buy a ticket to "Samurai Rauni", an event that the filmmakers will attend. Even more excitingly, though it's a Finnish film being shown in Latvia, the screening is subtitled in English!

The main venue for Events at Riga IFF appears to be the 'Splendid Palace'. It's actually really nice inside -- but I felt weird taking photos like some kind of tourist. Which I guess I am/was.

The main venue for Events at Riga IFF appears to be the 'Splendid Palace'. It's actually really nice inside -- but I felt weird taking photos like some kind of tourist. Which I guess I am/was.

This isn't the *inside* inside of the Palace. This is just where you buy the tickets. (Or you can obviously buy tickets online. I don't want to imply that Latvia lacks functional internet connectivity, or imply that I'm surprised that even my possibly-post-communist-era-bomb-proof-apartment-hotel has pretty good wifi)

This isn't the *inside* inside of the Palace. This is just where you buy the tickets.
(Or you can obviously buy tickets online. I don't want to imply that Latvia lacks functional internet connectivity, or imply that I'm surprised that even my possibly-post-communist-era-bomb-proof-apartment-hotel has pretty good wifi)

"I'm not saying I love Baltic cinema or that I want to support the filmic arts.... but if I become a paying member, do I get a set of these posters? They're awesome!"

"I'm not saying I love Baltic cinema or that I want to support the filmic arts.... but if I become a paying member, do I get a set of these posters? They're awesome!"

Without autograph dealers mobbing or screaming for attendees, or Paparazzi having lists with photos on them, I was forced to do my own research as to who the filmmakers attending this premiere/event might be and what they'd look like. .... ..... .... thanks, imdb.

Without autograph dealers mobbing or screaming for attendees, or Paparazzi having lists with photos on them, I was forced to do my own research as to who the filmmakers attending this premiere/event might be and what they'd look like. .... .....
.... thanks, imdb.

With no idea what anybody attending would look like, I decided to get a good seat.

With no idea what anybody attending would look like, I decided to get a good seat.

"We'll be back after the film to answer your questions. As it is, the film is meant to be somewhat surreal, so if you don't get it, don't ask us what it's about. Because that's cheating"

"We'll be back after the film to answer your questions. As it is, the film is meant to be somewhat surreal, so if you don't get it, don't ask us what it's about. Because that's cheating"

... and so I watched the movie. I'll be honest, for an 80 minute movie, the first hour was a strange and problematic for me,... and it got increasingly MORE strange as a viewing experience. And again if I'm honest, I can't say I had any real faith that it would have any point, or resolve itself in any way, or even decide what it was about (or even whether it wanted to be about anything!). However, to my genuine surprise, the movie DID have a point, and it did have a resolution, and it was actually (I feel) a pretty damn good one, about cultural appropriation and coolness versus thugness, and how you can be a hero in your mind while simultaneously being an utter A$$hole in everybody else's.... and a bit more than that too.

Overall, it was a very good experience, more so for the random coolness of it, and I would recommend watching it and staying with it though the oddness, because though it takes its time and is very weird at times, it definitely makes its point and gets there in the end.

"If this movie meant anything to you... then we totally meant that".

"If this movie meant anything to you... then we totally meant that".

"Also, don't pirate this film. Seriously guys. We put that there right at the end for a reason."

"Also, don't pirate this film. Seriously guys. We put that there right at the end for a reason."

Cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "An Amateur Is Invulnerable" - ie. you can take as much time and as many risks as you want in your work.

Cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "An Amateur Is Invulnerable" - ie. you can take as much time and as many risks as you want in your work.

Another cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "We don't (even) want to be Indie Filmmakers - which just wants to be 'Hollywood But Smaller" - good point. Near as I can tell pretty much everyone still wants a cinematic universe these days.

Another cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "We don't (even) want to be Indie Filmmakers - which just wants to be 'Hollywood But Smaller" - good point. Near as I can tell pretty much everyone still wants a cinematic universe these days.

Another cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "There is more Enthusiasm (with us) than Good Sense - but you have to have something that somebody can get out of, which is a problem...  (and also) when it makes too much sense it's too much work (to do)" - I believe this website functions (by which I mean disfunctions) in much that way.

Another cool *actual* quote from the filmmakers : "There is more Enthusiasm (with us) than Good Sense - but you have to have something that somebody can get out of, which is a problem...  (and also) when it makes too much sense it's too much work (to do)" - I believe this website functions (by which I mean disfunctions) in much that way.

"It's true. I went onto wikipedia to see what a Producer does...."

"It's true. I went onto wikipedia to see what a Producer does...."

"It's a more reliable source than most!"

"It's a more reliable source than most!"

I noted when I got outside that they'd set up some lights and a small stage but I saw no evidence of interviews by Aleksi Zaine or Editka Bovmani (Latvia's equivalent to Alex Zane or Edith Bowman) ...or any rhyme-intensive warmup duties by DeeTschai Ihmpakt... sadly.

I noted when I got outside that they'd set up some lights and a small stage but I saw no evidence of interviews by Aleksi Zaine or Editka Bovmani (Latvia's equivalent to Alex Zane or Edith Bowman) ...or any rhyme-intensive warmup duties by DeeTschai Ihmpakt... sadly.

Still.....Riga, Latvia. Who knew?   .... until next time!

Still.....Riga, Latvia. Who knew?

 

.... until next time!

So that was certainly something randomly cool to experience in a foreign city. I do call it a premiere (I can't find my notes, but I think they did have "Balkan Premiere" noted somewhere. As such, it does go into my "Archive of Movie Premieres" in place of 'Borg vs McEnroe" - the premiere I missed in London while I was away.

If you ever want to know when I post one of these premieres (or need somebody to promote your premiere?), feel free to follow my exploits on facebook at premieresdotco, or on twitter at berndt2_photo... or get in touch via the usual channels... whatever they are these days.