26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The First Bridge
The First Bridge
The First Bridge
The First Bridge
The First Bridge

The First Bridge

director: Laila Pakalnina
original title: Pirmais tilts
country: Latvia
year: 2020
running time: 11 min.


“Krāslava Bridge is the first bridge over the river Daugava in the territory of Latvia — a gate for the Daugava river from Belarus to Latvia” says the opening title of the film in which a strategically built and historically significant construction holds a number of different meanings. An analytical documentary immortalised in a series of suggestive, black-and-white, static shots and sounds brings us closer to the life of the bridge in all its heaviness and lightness from various angles: through the eternally flowing river it arches over, we witness the endless movement of car traffic and pedestrians walking between two river banks as well as the call of the wild within close proximity to the manifestations of human civilisation, for which it serves as a symbolic backdrop.
"The special thing about the documentary is the fact that we shot it on the leftovers of a 21-year-old 35mm negative. And it really worked. It looks great.” L. Pakalniņa


Laila Pakalnina (1962) is a graduate of the Moscow Film School VGIK and is among the most famous Latvian filmmakers. Her documentaries have won a number of international awards, including the Golden Bear in Berlin for the short film The Water (2006). The Jihlava Festival also presented her films The Chimney (2013), Short Film about Life (2014) and Dream (2016). In 2017, she was a juror of the Opus Bonum section.

more about film

director: Laila Pakalnina
producer: Laila Pakalnina
photography: Gints Berzins
editing: Silvija Vilkaite
sound Design: Anrijs Krenbergs
Ministerstvo kultury
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