Latvia is a small country. And this is just the fourth year that a festival of such international significance takes place in Riga. We need new and young people to fall in love with the beautiful world of cinema! This is an honest answer as to why it is so important to have a whole weekend dedicated to films for the whole family, why it is important to provide additional captivating pastimes as well… Two fascinating days of a cinematic adventure for schoolchildren, pre-school kids and their kin.

An ironic story about the farewell to the phantoms of the USSR in Ukraine.

Airport – a place where the limits of borders, security and tolerance are tested.

German photographer and filmmaker Leni Kastell Leni talks about her memories in 1945.

So much more than a period piece. The debut feature by accomplished theater director William Oldroyd relocates Nikolai Leskov’s play Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District to Victorian England. Florence Pugh is forceful and complex as Lady Katherine, who enters into an arranged marriage with the domineering, repressed Alexander (Paul Hilton), and must contend with her husband’s even more unpleasant mine-owner father (Christopher Fairbank). In this constrictive new milieu, she finds carnal release with one of her husband’s servants (Cosmo Jarvis), but there are profound consequences to her infidelity. Boasting deft performances by an outstanding ensemble cast, Lady Macbeth is a rousing parable about the price of freedom.

An impressionistic portrait of an octogenarian Swedish woman. The Sweden of the 1930s, a Siberian labour camp, and contemporary Ukraine. By blending time and places – a narrative painting is created about a family love that only exist in memories. The main character Lida, her son and sister have lived through war, a war that they aren’t a part of, or involved in, but are, nonetheless, irreversibly affected by. Now they can only be connected to each other through their common memories and the distances between them seem to vanish. The film tells about the cycle of time and a community with a unique language – an old Swedish dialect – disappearing.

A woman lives alone on the outskirts of a village in Russia. One day she receives a parcel she sent to her incarcerated husband, marked ‘return to sender’. Shocked and confused, the woman has no choice but to travel to the prison in a remote region of the country in search of an explanation. So begins the story of an absurd battle against this impenetrable fortress, the prison where the forces of social evil are constantly at work. Braving violence and humiliation, in the face of all opposition, our protagonist embarks on a blind quest for justice. This film is a metaphor for a country where people are constantly violated by each other. Hypocrisy, gigantic lies and double standards…

On the first day of the festival VFS Films will premiere a documentary project that took years in the making. At the centre of it all – a Latvian architect and a Chinese mountain miner. The process – an ambitious structure in the “centre of the World” – the Sacred Songshan mountain in the Henan province of China. Cultures differ, traditional assumptions and conventions need to be reassessed, personal ambitions become two sides of the same coin. Quanqi Zhu wants to bring the West into China, Austris Mailītis deeply values Eastern philosophy, and Shaolin monks fly in the air in the world’s first building constructed for probably the most fundamental of human ambitions – levitation.