"JELGAVA'94" is a film, which with equal parts of coming of age film and a portrait of the cultural chaos that reigned in former communist states during the 1990s, serves as a stark ...
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"JELGAVA'94" is a film, which with equal parts of coming of age film and a portrait of the cultural chaos that reigned in former communist states during the 1990s, serves as a stark reminder of what has been left behind when border countries such as Latvia, regained their independence. The film is based on the novel by Janis Jonevs - a winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2014.Written by
My review is coming from someone that has read the book, so i had more context for the movie scenes and an easier time following it. The first half followed the book very loosely, setting the mood for a 90s jelgava a city in a Slavic country, being not too far from it myself it looked very accurate and sold the mood and atmosphere well. I thought the characters were well transitioned to film, almost all of them feeling right on. the transition from a smart kid to a metal head was good, seeing janis develop as a person was interesting and made me remember my adolescence at bits. the whole film had plenty of humor and swearing, making it come off more real, because that's jelgava in the 90s for you.
But the other half of the film really rushed through the events, in what felt like an afterthought, as in they filmed half of it and realized they don't have the budget/time to make this film long enough to fit everything. and the ending was pretty bad. for someone who hasn't read the book the ending would be a surprise, it comes out of nowhere, not much has really been told and the story is already over. only a bit has been carried over in the sense that u get that feeling of worthlessness that the book also had, the feeling of maybe it was all for nothing.
The movie also added the main character as an adult going through the memories as he is writing the story as we see it, going through the past. i really liked this addition, sort of felt like the adult smart bit of janis would sometimes step up, and janis would make smarter choices, and when the older janis is in the background the young one makes teenager mistakes like drinking a screwdriver at a party. the book obviously didn't have this and i appreciated this addition to the film version.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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