We get into a paradoxical situation while trying to find the answer to the rhetorical question "What is a Latvian like". In the public space and in the minds of society the Latvian is a whiny guy without a sense of humour (or with a rather bad one), not very friendly towards the other Latvians, a bit scared and conservative; every Latvian sings in the choir, but prefers to only sing the sad songs. However, if we look for the answer on the same subject in the Latvian cinema, then we come into the territory of comic genres – in films the Latvian can laugh about himself, he is much more likely to make jokes than to wisely analyze and pay attention to social anthropology. If the Latvian filmmaker should look in a mirror, he would prefer to go to the laughter room, where various twisted mirrors highlight and exaggerate some things and conceal and erase others. The Latvian film directors are able to have a witty look at both: the history of the country and the nation, which we mostly remember by using black ribbons together with the flag, and at the "present day" in different times, which may not appear to be so funny to those who were born at that time. It is noteworthy that the self-reflection of a Latvian also includes a good chunk of mysticism and poetics, which is rooted, of course, in folklore, and it also brings visual poeticism with it that resonates in particular with the fact that Latvians are a nation of talented cinema operators.
Here he is, this Latvian – he sits in his garden, barrel or tree and laughs.

Kristīne Matīsa

The White Lie
Agnese Bule
/ 1999 / animation / 3'

In ancient past the latvian could blow anything out of proportion - a mushroom, a tree, even another latvian. One time he figured he would blow out the world to give space for more of it.

The Gardener
Madara Dišlere
/ 2016 / fiction / 20'

A gardener's love and happiness lies within his garden that is not owned by him. This love and the unwillingness to share with anybody else forces him to figure out a way to stay there forever.

The Amber Latvian '87
Aivars Freimanis
/ 1987 / documentary / 30'

A lively, humorous and a bit ironic report on the events in Soviet Latvia in 1987 that searches between different places and groups to find an answer to what being a true Latvian means.

Jānis Cimmermanis
/ 2007 / animation / 9'

In a country shack with a straw roof there lives a simple latvian man with straw-coloured hair in gray clothing, but suddently his shack becomes the epicentre of the cogs turning the history of the world.

Get to Know Latvia!
Agnese Bule
/ 2000 / animation / 13'

Since time began a nation spends its days in the regufe of trees. There is a place on Earth where such trees grow - a country called Latvia by the Baltic sea, where people live in wooden barrels.