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Abstract

This article is devoted to the theme of women and war in the films of Jānis Streičs, possibly the most influential Latvian film director. In the course of his career, which spanned nearly 50 years, Streičs made films that were popular in Latvia, as well as throughout the Soviet Union. He is one of the few Latvian film directors who managed to continue a comparatively stable career in the newly reindependent Republic of Latvia. Streičs skilfully used the canonised means of expression of classical cinema and superficially fulfilled the demands of socialist realism to provide appealing and life-asserting narratives for the audiences. Being a full-time film director at Riga Film Studio, and gradually becoming a master of the studio system, Jānis Streičs managed to subordinate the system to his own needs, outgrowing it and becoming an auteur with an idiosyncratic style and consistently developed topics. The most expressive elements of his visual style can be found in his war films, which are presented as women’s reflections on war.

In this article, Streičs’ oeuvre in its entirety provides the background for an analysis of two of his innovative war films. Meetings on the Milky Way (Tikšanās uz Piena ceļa, Latvia, 1985) rejects the classical narrative structure, instead offering fragmentary war episodes that were united by two elements – the road and women. In Carmen Horrendum (Latvia, 1989) Streičs uses an even more complicated structure that combines reality, visions and dreams. After watching this film, the only conclusion we can come to with certainty is that war does not have a woman’s face and, in general, war has no traces of humanity.

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how World War II, a theme stringently controlled by Soviet ideology, provided the impetus for a search for an innovative film language.

Abstract

Today, opera houses are confronted by new (global) digital media offers that enable people to remain outside the opera house while attending a live-opera, e.g. via livestreamed opera performances in the cinema. This is a challenge for media managers in these fields because they need to find new ways to work with these new opportunities. Within a cultural marketing context, branding is highly relevant. Based on the brand image approach by Kevin Lane Keller (1993), we use a complex qualitative-quantitative study in order to investigate if, and how, the brand images of live-opera performances and live-streamed operas differ between countries and cultural contexts. By comparing Estonia and Germany, we found that the perception of live-opera is rather a global phenomenon with only slight differences. Furthermore, the ‘classical’ opera performance in an opera house is still preferred, with a corresponding willingness to pay, while the live-streamed opera offer may provide a modern touch. The study may help media managers in adapting their brand management to include new digital product offers and to find targeted differentiation strategies for increasingly competitive markets.

Abstract

Stemming from the concept of active audiences and from Henry Jenkins’ (2006) idea of participatory culture as the driving force behind the transformation of public service broadcasting into agencies of public service media (Bardoel, Ferrell Lowe 2007), this empirical study explores the attitude and behaviour of the audiences of two crossmedia projects, produced by the public service media of Finland (YLE) and Estonia (ERR). This empirical study aims to explore the behaviour, wants and needs of the audiences of cross-media productions and to shed some light on the conditions that support the dynamic switching of the engagement with cross-media. The study’s results suggest that audiences are neither passive nor active, but switch from one mode to another. The findings demonstrate that audience dynamism is circumstantial and cannot be assumed. Thus, thinking about active audiences and participation as the lymph of public service media becomes problematic, especially when broadcasters seek generalised production practices. This work demonstrates how television networks in general cannot be participatory, and instead, how cross-media can work as a vehicle of micro participation through small acts of audience engagement (Kleut et al. 2017).

Abstract

This article explores whether a specifically regional quality can be identified in the following Finnish and Estonian multi-protagonist/network narrative films: Aku Louhimies’ Frozen Land (Paha maa, Finland, 2005) and Veiko Õunpuu’s Autumn Ball (Sügisball, Estonia, 2007). The article begins by providing an overview of the discussion regarding multi-protagonist films - a film form in which several lead characters are commonly connected via accidental encounters. Thereafter, an examination is made of how the form’s widely recognised generic qualities are represented in the Northern and Eastern European examples. As an overview of the discourse illustrates, multi-protagonist film is mainly interested in urban spatiality, contingency and human interconnectedness. It is also shown that these examples from the cinemas of small nations follow global trends rather closely. At the same time, Frozen Land and Autumn Ball can be seen as representing a specifically regional sensibility that is not only interesting in its own right, but which can also be understood as directly influencing the character-action.

Abstract

This article investigates how director Valeria Anderson constructed heroes in the documentaries she directed between 1960 and 1985. It also asks how far one could go with social criticism in the post-Stalinist/pre-Perestroika era, how pointed the revelations of economic disorder could be, and what rank of leadership could be blamed for the occurrences of these problems. The article concentrates on the documentaries made by Valeria Anderson that depict positive heroes sacrificing their personal interests for the good of the homeland. The narratives are examined by using discourse analysis.

Abstract

The article suggests that cinematic figures can be divided into two basic groups - barbarian and intellectual. The definition is based on the level of the figures’ intelligibility in the works of Jean-Luc Godard and Andrei Tarkovsky. As Claude Lévi-Strauss’ myth analysis shows, there are structural similarities between cinematic figures and myths, the article searches for a closer, more site-specific link, engaging fairy tales, i.e. local myths, as a more efficient way of observing the distinctive features of the figures in specific regions.

Abstract

This article analyses and maps the links between caricature and animated film, as well as their development during the post-World War II era, in communist Eastern Europe. The article also deals with the specific nature of animation production under the conditions of political censorship and the utilisation of Aesopian language as an Eastern European phenomenon for outmanoeuvring censorship.

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study in which the Estonian audiences of various stage versions of the same opera (live opera theatre performance and live-in-HD, which were shown at cinemas) during the same season were compared in a social constructivist paradigm to underline whether, and to what extent, audiences’ membership, cultural consumption preferences, attitudes, expectations, values and perceptions differ or coincide, thereby revealing what audiences distinguish as the differences or similarities between live and mediated opera performances. It presents the preference dimensions of the Estonian opera audience and provides an opportunity to discuss the issue of whether a technologically mediated cultural event offers any new opportunities for traditional opera to expand its audience, or whether it captures the audiences and creates competition for the theatres whose performances are not mediated. The survey was carried out among audiences attending performances of Carmen (Georges Bizet, 1875) in the 2014/2015 season at five different venues in Estonia. The findings revealed that, due to the fact that the hierarchy of motivators for the target groups of live and live-in-HD opera differs, it does not support the idea that opera theatre will gain new audiences from cinema or vice versa.

Abstract

After the Maidan events in Kiev and the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, discussions in Latvia expanded regarding the extent to which the Russian-speaking population in Latvia, whose daily information is obtained mainly from Russia’s TV channels, can get well-balanced and objective information. Opinion polls showed that a large proportion (41%) of the non-Latvians supported the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s policy (). The aim of this article is to analyse the structure of the audiovisual media in the Russian language and media usage habits of the Russian-speaking audience using secondary and primary data. And thereby assess whether diversified information is available in the Russian language to this societal group. The research results show that the Russian-speaking population in Latvia does not feel a need for additional information channels, because they believe that the variety of information obtained from Russia’s TV and radio channels is sufficient.