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// Presented as part of Filmatique's Tallinn Black Nights Series // 

Exclusive Interview with Laila Pakalnina

Essay: The Labyrinths of Narration: Chaos and Mayhem at the Latvian Collective Farm in Dawn

Spotlight on Dawn



Laila Pakalnina / Latvia, 2015 / Tallinn Black Nights, Fajr, goEast, Seattle / 96'


Janis is a young boy who lives in the Soviet collective farm "Dawn."  His father opposes such a collective farm's creation, meriting himself an enemy of the Soviet people— therefore, Janis betrays his father by adopting his uncle as his caretaker.  What unfolds is a tale of revenge on the frontier of a growing Soviet empire.  


Retooling the classic Soviet propaganda story about "Young Pioneer" Pavel Morozov— a subject of many books, songs, plays, and even a film by Sergei Eisenstein— Dawn is a powerful visual opus about manipulation, freedom and memory.  The fifth feature from celebrated Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina premiered at Tallinn Black Nights, Seattle and Fajr, and was selected as Latvia's official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


"A visually ravishing love letter to vintage Soviet cinema... The beauty of Dawn lies in its richness, ambiguity and willfully elusive intentions... Pakalnina has constructed an arrestingly beautiful and original work from the collective folklore of her nation's troubled history"

- Stephen Dalton, Tallinn Black Nights ReviewThe Hollywood Reporter