Director of Photography
11.2002. k/t "Kino 52"
|The woman makes the two men lose their heads: one is a middle-aged "Don Juan", who has lost his idealism, the other - a young country boy, who blushes at one look of the woman. The triangle acts in the period when the times of change in Latvia have ended, people's abilities to adapt are clear; their places in the society have been divided. The ones who are left after are those who cannot keep pace with the run of "the wild capitalism".
If 18-year-old Ivars knew what awaited him in the glittering, rich big city, he probably wouldn't have gone there: the quiet and shy Ivars would be pointed a loaded rifle at another human being.
Ivars loses his illusions about the city on his first day -- his boastful uncle, the fortyish Fredis, is actually a loser. Unable to adjust to the new rhythm of life, he has started to drink, losing both his wife and home. Now they are forced to live in the cramped, dark locker-room of an old weapons factory. Fredis still hopes to earn a living here. For Ivars, there is no turning back. He is determined to support his family -- his mother, sister and two brothers living in the poverty-stricken, squalid countryside. Braving failure and, sometimes, the physical abuse of competitors, Ivars tries his hand at being a janitor, a warehouse laborer, and a newspaper hawker on trains and street corners.
One day life suddenly changes for both the man and the youth. Beautiful, red-haired Liene appears. It is a pure chance encounter. Liene's life is controlled by the moods of her men. She, too, is seeking her fortune in the city, but it has been like a stereotypical soap opera. Thrown out of a car by one of her clients, she will certainly look for another one, but first, Liene wants to rest for a few days. Ivars and Fredis don't know this.
Idealistic Ivars has truly fallen in love with Liene, but outgoing Fredis suddenly sees a way out of his dead-end life. The seeming attention of a young girl raises his self-esteem, gives him new ambition and drive. Everything changes -- both the men and even the dreary industrial locker-room that is their home. In secret competition with each other, they try to please Liene, each as he best can. But only she sees how comic these efforts are. For the moment, Liene lets the men live out their illusions. It is convenient for her.
True, Liene is able to reward the efforts of both. She smiles at Ivars, who advocates pure love and sleeps with Fredis, who needs this affirmation of his manly worth. When the younger man discovers this, he takes a rifle that Fredis keeps hidden, puts a handful of bullets in his pocket, and sets out to settle the score with his uncle.
In the meantime, Liene is back in her accustomed life, among muscular, leather-jacketed young men with big black cars. Having followed Fredis to the downtown area, Ivars has already taken aim the back of his head when he suddenly is forced to save his uncle's life. Fredis, who is equally despondent, is trying to take Liene away from her friends.
Ivar's shot doesn't kill anyone, but it shatters the illusions he and Fredis have built up in hope of happiness.
The film takes place in two radically different but colorful environments in Riga -- the modern city just past the turn of a new century and the hundred year old Arsenal industrial area where, instead of weapons, bread is baked, and macaroni, bedframes and windowpanes are made in small workshops. Some of the film also takes place at the small, impoverished country village where Ivars' mother lives.