Janu Nakts (St. John's Night) is a traditional Latvian celebration during which family and friends gather to build bonfires, barbecue, drink and generally have a good time. According to legend, lovers and those who would like to fall in love, can search the woods for the "magic fern" on this night. This magic fern serves as the focus and pivotal point of the six stories in "Midsummer Madness" It is also a metaphor for the film's underlying theme - finding love. "MIDSUMMER MADNESS " is reflected in the recurring element of the magic fern, a metaphor (both in the film and in real life) for love. The question posed by the film is: can a search for love ever be successful? Each story deals with this question. An answer is provided at the film's conclusion in a humorous and unforgettable way: we see the legendary fern, glowing magically in a meadow. It exists after all! Then a cow ambles along and eats it. The deeper message, which is not obvious to the audience, is therefore: Yes, a ...Written by
Joe W. Wrist
What a weird and wonderful little comedy it is! I know nothing about Latvia, but it seems to me that this is the director's declaration of love for his native country. Not in a pompous and patriotic way, mind you. The makers are not afraid to stray into neighbouring Lithuania for a bit. This is about the soul of the country and about ancient myths and traditions surrounding the summer solstice. Apparently this is the one night when everything goes and everybody, accordingly, goes crazy. Mostly in the pursuit of love. Or sex. Or both. A modern Latvian Midsummer Night's Dream, if you will.
The film tells several unconnected stories, every one involving foreign visitors from different countries arriving at the airport in Riga on the day of the summer solstice. There is an uptight American in search of his dying father's one time lover and her daughter, a Latvian air hostess who brings home her Japanese lover to meet her parents, two Liverpudlian fire fighters visiting their Latvian colleagues, a French poet come to scatter her late husband's ashes in his native country, and a couple of German and Austrian businessmen desperate to seal a deal. The stereotypical foreigners are beautifully stylized to the point of absurdity.
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