Modris (Juris Kursietis, 2014): Latvia

Reviewed by Adam Holm, Santa Barbara film festival, 2016, Fiesta Five.


The story about the young Modris living in the lower-class Latvia, gave me and the audience a rough experience, when watching the social-realistic drama. The film had it’s own language in the story telling, but i didn’t quite get it. It was really realistic, but not dramatic.

It was most of all a tough story about a confused and frustrated teenager trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. The 17 year old boy is living in lower class of Latvia with his poor mother and he has a gambling problem. The gambling and hos not existing father makes his relationship with hos mother really hard.

The relationship gets even worse when Morris starts to sell his mothers things, just to get some cash for gambling. Modris mother keeps telling him that his dad is in jail, and he is gonna end up like him he if dosen’t stop gambling. She is threatening him with calling the cops, and after Modris steals her heater and sells it at the pawn shop, she loose her mind. Modris goes to court and meets a lawyer who tells him that he can find his father. The relationship between Modris and his mother gets even worse after the court because Modris is mad at her for turning him in, but also because of the lawyer tells him that his father never has been jail. Modris runs away from home to find his father.

The cinematography style in the film was actually really good. The camera was handheld and it had a lot good wide-angle shots which fits the envoirment and the story really well.

The background music was almost not existing, which also fits the envoirment and the story really well, but it was really boring to watch for my taste. I understand that they wanted to make a realistic film that shows how rough the lower-class society in Latvia can be, but when you make a film you also have to make it dramatic and exciting to watch in some ways for the audience. Adding no background music and making the plot as a documentary gets to boring in the long run.

A reference to another film would definitely be to another film a watched during this years Film Festival in Santa Barbara; Koza. If you like slow paced films, with almost no exciting plot and long shots with no background music – then Modris and also Koza would be a film for you. Definitely not for me.



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