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Latvia has submitted Laila Pakalnina’s Dawn, a black and white reworking of a Soviet legend that is both a critique of Communism and tribute to the filmmaking of the time, to the Oscars in the foreign-language category.
Based on the 1920s story of Pavel Morozov — a Young Communist who informs on his corrupt peasant father and is murdered for his ideological pains — Pakalnina was also inspired by early Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished Bezhin Meadows, that was also based on the same story but shelved in murky circumstances.
Pakalnina, who herself grew up in Soviet times, moves the story to a collective farm in Soviet Latvia in the 1960s and renames her character Janis.
Dubbed by The Hollywood Reporter’s critic as a “loving homage and a knowing critique of classic Eastern Bloc cinema,” Dawn is produced by Harlga Company, Miracle Worker, Staron Film and Digitaalne Sputnik.
Latvia first submitted a film to the Academy Awards in 1992 and has done so most years since 2008, but has never been shortlisted.
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