Dawn named Latvia's Oscars hope
by Laurence Boyce
- Laila Pakalnina’s allegorical tale is put forward for consideration for Best Foreign-Language Film
The film is ostensibly based on a story told at the height of Soviet occupation. Young Pavlov Morozov reputedly informed on his parents and was subsequently murdered. The boy’s death turned him into a martyr and icon of Soviet conformity: but the truth as to whether he actually existed remains unclear. Pakalnina’s plays with Soviet iconography in a striking black and white affair (with cinematography from noted Polish documentary filmmaker Wojciech Staroń) that questions human indolence in the face of oppression.
Dawn is produced by Latvia’s Kompanija Hargla, Estonia’s Digital Sputnik and Poland’s Staron Films. It had its world premiere in international competition at the 2015 edition of the Black Nights Film Festival.
Laila Pakalnina remains one of Latvia’s most recognised filmmakers. She is known for her documentary works but it also lauded for her fiction features, including 1998 film The Shoe which screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.