A young man’s dreams are put on hold in this unfortunately timely story of art, love, and war. It is January 1991, and Jazis (Kārlis Arnolds Avots) longs to become a filmmaker, citing the works of Ingmar Bergman and Jim Jarmusch among his inspirations. He finds a like-minded lover in Anna (Alise Danovska), who similarly dreams of artistic success and later accepts a position working for filmmaker Juris Podnieks (Juhan Ulfsak). However, their love and carefree lives crash to a halt when the Soviet menace becomes a grim reality, their homeland becoming a fierce battleground of subjugation versus independence. Veteran director and playwright Viesturs Kairiss marks his seventh narrative film with this thought-provoking meditation on the intersection of art, love and war. With its distinctive filmmaking style of Super 8 interludes and actual archival footage, January is an experience that will envelop you long after the credits roll.--Karen McMullen
Viesturs Kairišs is a scriptwriter, film and theater director. Previous features The Sign Painter (2020), The Chronicles of Melanie (2016) premiered at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Leaving by the Way (2002) at Karlovy Vary competition, and documentary Pelican in the Desert (2014) screened at Visions du Réel competition.