11-09-2008

Salome opens Arsenals

By FNE Staff
Riga's Arsenals film festival earns its reputation for unconventionality from betinning to end, opening this year on September 12 with the 1923 film based on the Oscar Wilde/Aubrey Beardsley sensation Salome, starring the 42-year old Russian femme fatale Alla Nazimova.

Equally unexpected is the final award ceremony, with 16 films competing for the main prize this year. They include The Hollow from Russia, Bent Hamer's O'Horten, and Puipa Algimantas' Whisper of Sin from neighboring Lithuania.

Whisper of Sin also competes in the 23-film strong Baltic Film Competition, for films from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The competition includes other fest films including Vogelfrei from Latvia, and Estonia's Autumn Ball. The Austrian Embassy of Latvia is sponsoring a 1,500 Euro award to the winner of the Baltic Competition.

A taste for the unexpected continues with two of the festival's special sections. The Slovak Retrospective features films from auteurs who were, for the most part, little known beyond their own country. The Fathers and Sons section looks at films within the context of father-son relationships, both on screen and off.

Arsenals wraps September 21, after a closing ceremony that presents a novelty prize to the Russian film Orchard, for "Collective Creativity" going to the entire crew of the film.