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he 1950s and 60s in European film history is considered to be modernist
period that was most explicitly manifested in the cinema of West European countries
(France, Italy and others). Fragmentation of the narrative, loosening of linkage
between events, innovative approaches in editing, foregrounding of subjectivity are
only some of formal techniques characterizing the modernist aesthetics in cinema.
In the soviet period of Latvian film history there are merely a few films in which one
can identify modernist features. Basically, those are films by Rolands Kalniņš and in
particular his feature film “Four White Shirts” (1967). By its form this film is very
unusual in the context of Latvian film history and it resonated with the dominant
trends in West European cinema in the 1950s and 60s. “Four White Shirts”, as well
as several other films by Rolands Kalniņš, like “Stone and Flinders” (
Akmens un
, 1966), and “Maritime Climate”
Piejūras klimats
, 1974) were banned by
censorship and never got to cinema screens and were practically “erased”, eliminated
from the Latvian cinema processes. The present research will be an analysis of the
aesthetics of Rolands Kalniņš’ film “Four White Shirts” (1967) focusing on those
elements in the film that are typical for European modernist cinema. The return of
the film “Four White Shirts” to the world cinema context took place half a century
after it was made – its restored print was included in Cannes Film Festival programme
Cannes Classics
in 2018. The international premier of the film in 2018 enabled it
to become the most renowned Latvian fiction film in Western Europe by revealing
the internationally practically unknown modernist period of Latvian cinema in the
1960s that culminated in Rolands Kalniņš’ film “Four White Shirts”. The destiny of
this film, the ban to screen it publicly affirms the fact that modernist aesthetics was
considered to be unacceptable within the context of the soviet cultur
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalCulture Crossroads : Journal of the Research Centre at the Latvian Academy of Culture
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2021


  • Latvian cinema
  • Latvian film
  • modernisms
  • art cinema
  • new wave
  • Rolands Kalniņs
  • Four White Shirts

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 1.2. Scientific article included in INT1 or INT2 category journal of ERIH database


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