In the early morning of June 14, 1941, under Stalin's orders, over 40 000 people from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were arrested, shoved into cattle cars and dispatched to permanent exile in Siberia. Among them - journalist Melanie and her 8 year old son Andrejs, forcibly separated from husband and father Aleksandrs. In the Siberian village women, ignorant of the fate of their husbands, are settled in badly built barracks and forced to work like slaves. Melanie keeps herself alive for her son and husband to whom she writes hundreds of love letters that are never sent, since his address remains unknown. She keeps her personal integrity in the face of starvation, hard work or disease. After 16 years, Melanie is released and returns to Riga, only to find out that her husband Alexander died in the camps in 1942.Written by
Latvia's submission to the Foreign Language Film Award of the 90th Annual Academy Awards. See more »
Yes, Could Have Given More, But ..
I agree w/some of the lower star reviews that more background history would have helped such as the tacit pact between Germany & Communist Soviet Union to not interfere in either nations expansion of their empires. Seems like Russia still has designs in that direction. Also, that the broad scope and depth of brutality would have added even more to this tale. In 1941 & 1949 the Soviets deported over 15,000 Latvians to either be shot (Malanija Vanaga's husband) or to work camps & prisons mostly in eastern Russia. Deportations & killings reaching hundreds of thousands were ongoing throughout the decades including Latvians living in Russia. I thought the black & white filming gave a period stark cold realism to these events.
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