FOR ALL MY LIFE

Documentary, 2003, DVCam Betacam SP, colour,B/W, stereo, 39'


The ARD media prize CIVIS for integration and cultural diversity in Europe was presented on September 28, 2005 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.The European ROMA Television Jury has nominated documentary For All My Life and awarded it the European ROMA Television Prize 2005.
Documentary film For All My Life by GILDE Film Studio took part in the Second Moscow International Visual Anthropology Festival and Conference, which was hold 24-28 May 2004 in Lomonosov Moscow State University. The life of a small Roman Gypsy community became a subject of discussion of visual anthropologists from various European states.
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Gilde Film Studio
Amatu iela 5, LV 1941, Riga, Latvia
Tel./Fax: +371 67210022, Mobile: +371 29508441
e-mail: latfilma@erseta.lv pipars@mailbox.riga.lv
homepage: www.gilde.lv
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Kaspars Arhipovs, a young Gipsy, investigates the story of his wonderful rescue. His saver, Martins Berzins, had died long before Kaspars was born. A paradox?
The action of the film takes place today and sixty years ago, in Sabile, a small Latvian town. Nowadays among the 1700 inhabitants there live the representatives of different nations - Latvians, Russians, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Jews, two Tartars and one hundred people of the Gipsy community.
In the remote summer of 1941 Latvia was occupied by German Nazi troops. On August 6, 1941 all the Jews of Sabile were shot dead in a forest not far from the town. Only four Jews survived hidden by a Latvian family.
Three days later the Nazis arrest all the Gipsies in Sabile - men, old people, women and children. The terror stricken people are driven in a yard, in the centre of the town where they spend a dreadful night. In the morning the Nazis order them to dig a big pit in a forest, next to the mass grave of the shot Jews.
Then they stand on the brink of the pit before the barrels of guns, while the shooters are waiting for a command to shoot. But instead they suddenly hear: “Stop it!” The mayor of Sabile, Martins Berzins came to the place. “They are my residents. If you want to shoot them down, kill me too”.
Threatening with death the Nazis tried to get the mayor’s consent to annihilate the Gipsies. Berzins, however, was firm in his decision to rescue the people and refused to sign the paper. In this way he saved more than two hundred Gipsies. Among them there were Leksa, a Gipsy baron, and his bride Rosa. They are Kaspars Arhipovs’ grandparents. That is how the mayor of Sabile had saved the life of Kaspars though he was born only 40 years after the events.
The Gipsies rescued by Martins Berzins are the ancestors of the contemporary Gipsy Diaspora in the Western Latvia, as in 1941 Nazis annihilated Gipsies in the rest of the country.
Today every resident of Sabile knows the sixty-year-old story of the rescue. The heroic deed of the past influences also the present-day situation in Sabile. Tolerance reign over the town. The customs and the mode of life of the Gipsies is known to the other town residents who live side by side with them. It is not easy to integrate into a different society retaining all own peculiarities. That is why in the only secondary school in Sabile there is a special class for Gipsies. Besides the usual subjects they study the Gipsy language and have extra classes in music.
Many students of the school are fond of investigating the history of their native town and of the whole country as well. One of the most active “researchers” is Kaspars, a possible “Gipsy baron”. Being aware of your past you may be more confident about your future, the teachers of the school consider.
At the end of the film the descendants of the rescued Gipsies get together despite many of them live in other places of Latvia. On August 9, 2000 they will meet in the forest where the empty grave dug 60 years ago still remains. Kaspars will be among them. Exactly 60 years divide the two events.
In the film we will use the archival materials, the eye-witnesses’ stories and the method of re-creation of the events.
If you Want to get the film in DVD format, clik here.
To learn more on film and download options, visit
http://latvia.onlinefilm.org/lv_LV/film/30888


e-mail: latfilma@erseta.lv
Amatu iela 5,
LV 1941, Riga, Latvia
Tel./Fax: +371 67210022,
Mobile: +371 29508441



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