Valiant! A Car, a Cause, and the Cold War (Valiant! Brauciens uz brīvu Latviju), dir. Māra Pelēce, 86′, Latvia, 2022
Juris and his mates paint an old Plymouth Valiant “Slant Six” with anti-Soviet slogans like “Nyet, nyet Soviet!” and “Go(rbachev) to hell!”. Day to day, while driving around his home state of New Jersey, Juris uses the car to further the seemingly hopeless task – to free illegally occupied Latvia. During the last years of the Cold War, the political antics of American Latvian youth managed to draw attention to the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States – generating headlines when few could even find Latvia on a map.
Meeting Latvian organizers today, Valiant! reveals unorthodox strategies behind their newsworthy protests. Now, at a time when Russia threatens Ukraine and Putin laments the break-up of the Soviet Union, it begs the question whether Latvian freedom efforts against Russian aggression are in fact “just history”?
International Premiere 2022
Scriptwriters Marianna Auliciema, Dita Gruze, Māra Pelēce
Cinematographer Māra Pelēce
Sound Director Reid Kruger
Editor Dita Gruze
Producer Marianna Auliciema
Production Company Latvians Abroad - Museum and Research Centre
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