Documentary film trilogy about Šķērsiela in Pārdaugava released on DVD

The award winning series of Šķērsiela documentary films has been released on DVD. The series, made up of three films – Šķērsiela (1988), Jaunie laiki Šķērsielā (1999), and Kapitālisms Šķērsielā (2013) are directed by Ivars Seleckis, and trace the lives of those who live on the Šķērsiela road in the Pārdaugava region of Riga. The films revisit its subjects approximately every ten years (similarly to British director Michael Apted ‘s Up Series documentary project) and present their stories.

Though the film is meant as a documentary of “ordinary” people on an “ordinary” street, the characters are all memorable and engaging. The films are also a kind of time capsule of Latvia and how major events affected everyday life, and how Latvia in many ways has changed dramatically in the last 25 years, and, how in certain ways, it has not changed at all.

The films, sold separately, are all region 0 PAL DVDs (which should play on most all DVD players), and are in Latvian and have English and Russian subtitles. Irritatingly, however, the film producers subscribe to the notion that everyone who speaks Latvian also speaks Russian, and do not provide Latvian subtitles when someone is speaking Russian. As a bonus, the films include interviews with director Seleckis and scenographer Tālivaldis Margēvičs.

For further information, please visit the European Documentary Film Symposium (EDFS) website.

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

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