The Year Before the War

  • 95'
  • Latvia
  • 2021

In 1913, the world is about to be radically transformed. Soon, millions of men will march, singing, into the trenches. At this moment of feverish anticipation, Peter from Latvia – who always claims his name is Hans – is roaming around Europe. He starts out as a simple doorman in Riga, but becomes embroiled in the revolutionary plans of communists, anarchists, proto-fascists and nationalists. His odyssey through Europe leads him to the 'Lebensreform' community at Monte Verità in Switzerland, and to imperial Vienna. He is shot at and forced to commit murder, has a romance with the spy Mata Hari and is psychoanalysed by Sigmund Freud.

The Year Before the War is a historical thriller with a surrealist twist. Director Simanis embraces erudite hyperbole through playful references to key historical figures and the history of Russian and German cinema. The result is an atmospheric analysis of an era that still has great relevance; an era when new, utopian ideas heralded the 20th century.

Director
Dāvis Sīmanis
Premiere
World premiere
Countries of production
Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic
Production Year
2021
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
95'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Gads pirms kara
Languages
Latvian, German, Russian, French
Producers
Roberts Vinovskis, Uljana Kim, Radim Procházka
Production Companies
Studio Locomotive, Studio Uljana Kim, Produkce Radim Procházka
Sales
Studio Locomotive
Screenplay
Tabita Rudzāte, Uldis Tīrons, Dāvis Sīmanis
Cinematography
Andrejs Rudzāts
Editor
Anna Ryndova
Production Design
Kristīne Jurjāne
Sound Design
Saulius Urbanavičius
Music
Faustas Latenas
Cast
Petr Buchta, Lauris Dzelzītis, Ģirts Ķesteris, Gints Grāvelis, Dace Everss