Alternative Networks of Globalisation: Latvian Neorealism in the Films of Laila Pakalniņa

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Abstract

This paper examines the development of neorealist tendencies in the oeuvre of contemporary Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina. Her work is positioned within the global dissemination of cinematic neorealism, and its local manifestations, which, it is argued, develop in specific national contexts in reaction to dramatic societal and political changes. Pakalniņa’s films are examined as a documentation of the change from a communist satellite state to an independent democratic, capitalist country. Heavily influenced by the Riga School of Poetic Documentary, a movement in Latvian cinema that adhered to the conventions of poetic documentary filmmaking, the article analyses how her films replicate and further develop the stylistic and aesthetic devices of the Italian neorealists and the succeeding cinematic new waves. In doing so the argument is put forth that Pakalnina has developed neorealism Latvian style.

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