- Take Latvia home! VoV, an American award-winning film company, introduces you to Latvia's history and natural beauty. Ten episodes take you to medieval castles, Baroque palaces, charming small towns, and the stunning seacoast. Go to a song festival or take a tour of Riga's restored Old Town.
All-Latvian sound track, from Liv tribal chants to the best in modern Latvian music.
Featured locations (click to see the large image): Bauska Castle, Jaunmokas Manor, Ethnographic Museum, Araisi Lake Castle, Vidzeme Highlands, Aglona Basilica, Jelgava Palace, Rundale Palace, Kuldiga, Cesis, Munchausen Museum, Sabile Vineyard, Lake District (Latgale), Gauja National Park, Turaida Castle, Sigulda, Liiv Coast, Jurmala.
Review by Amanda Jatniece, BalticShop.com:
"Latvia: The Country Video is a slick 30-minute video meant to introduce the viewer to one of the lesser known countries of Europe. It takes you on a trip that begins at Bauska Castle and Jaunmokas Manor, continues through the Ethnographic Museum, Vidzeme highlands, Jelgava and Rundāle Palaces, the Latgale lake district, Gauja National Park, Turaida, Sigulda, Jūrmala and the sea coast, and ends with a whilwind tour of the Rīga Old Town.
The video states that Latvia is a country of variety, but no extremes; that it has hills, but no mountains. From the video one could also surmise that Latvia is a country of summer, but no winter. Except for a few short frames showing the bobsled run and skiing in Sigulda, the whole film is shot in summer and sunshine. There is no hint of the rain and cloudy days that are so common, nor of the cold and dreary autumns and winters, when daylight gets reduced to a mere 6 or so hours, nor of the dirty slush and smelly exhaust of the big city Rīga. Likewise, no one likes to see the ugly Soviet era buildings, either, but they're hard to miss if you actually visit Latvia! In other words, the video doesn't show much of everyday life.
Rather, the video gives a very idyllic and immaculate image of Latvia, concentrating on picturesque rural areas and small towns, such as Cēsis and Kuldīga. This makes for a truly beautiful film, especially when professionally mastered, as is this video.
Rīga Jugendstile/Art Nouveau architecture is given deserved attention, as are Latvian ethnic traditions, although viewers should be warned that unfortunately the traditional celebrations are not as wide-spread as could be assumed from the video. But a few viewers felt that other topics, such as Baron von Műnchhausen and the Jelgava and Rundāle Palaces, were given too much air time. "Beautiful, but it gets boring," said one viewer. A significant place like the Aglona Basilica, on the other hand, is barely mentioned in passing.
There is also lots of history in the video. Since I�m not a history expert, I cannot attest to the accuracy of it � all I can say is that for the average viewer there is probably way too much of it. The video seems to dwell on older history (such as the Duchy of Kurzeme), while whizzing through great amounts of facts, dates, and pictures regarding 20th century history at the last minute, hardly allowing one to digest this very important (and still very relevant) era of Latvian history.
One last thing: the narrator's pronunciation of Latvian words and place names carries a strong American accent.
BUT, despite all of the criticisms, this really is a beautiful video (maybe play it at slow speed, so that you can savor every scene!). It offers a short course in Latvian history and culture, gives a quick tour of all of the main tourist destinations, and leaves the viewer with an impossibly good image of Latvia."
- Travel, 30 min. Format of DVD - NTSC (American). Language: narrative in English.
Format - PAL (European). Narrative is available in 4 languages: English, German, French and Russian.
Also available in
video cassette (VHS) format