Witness of the century. Meeting with Valentīna Freimane in Liepāja

Witness of the century. Meeting with Valentīna Freimane in Liepāja

On 30 August at 17.00 in the gallery of Liepāja Latvian Society House the exhibition "Witness of the Century. Meeting with Valentīna Freimane" will be open.

The theatre and film scholar, Doctor of Arts Valentīna Freimane (1922-2018) is associated with the development of Latvian culture and its incorporation into the context of global culture. Despite the political regime’s barriers, since the 1960s Valentīna Freimane created an alternative education system, becoming a “window to Europe” for several generations of soviet people, expanding awareness and understanding of world theatre and cinema processes, personalities, and phenomena. After the restoration of independence, she spoke to the world of Latvian culture and history. Throughout her life, V. Freimane has always remained convinced that circumstances do not shape people, rather people shape their own circumstances.

The exhibition "Witness of the Century. Meeting with Valentīna Freimane" will introduce the life story and personality of the outstanding film and theatre scholar with audio and video materials forming an important part of the exhibition. Those are interviews with Valentīna Freimane, broadcasts and films about her, made in Latvia and Germany. In 2022, the museum exhibition was displayed in the National Library of Latvia, but Liepāja's exhibition has been designed virtually from scratch, adding little-known facts about Valentīna Freimane’s time spent in Liepāja from 1950 to 2013 when she completely transformed the regional journalistic style and created the cultural consciousness in that now often has been taken for granted, but which was one of the trigger factors led to the awarding of the "European Capital of Culture 2027" to Liepāja. The exhibition follows the life story of Valentīna Freimane also in the periods of Rīga and Berlin, through photographs, documents, personal items, videos, and text fragments.

The texts and materials were selected by film scholar Anita Uzulniece and theatre scholars Margarita Zieda and Vēsma Lēvalde. Visual image was designed by Anna Heinrihsone, assisting by Dace Lanka. The project manager is Kristīne Jākabsone. Exhibits from the private archives of Valentīna Freimane’s family, Anita Uzulniece and the Grēviņi family, content from the National Library of Latvia, Liepāja Theatre, Liepāja University, Liepāja Museum, and other archives. Quotations from interviews and books by Valentīna Freimane, as well as memories of her students, are included in the exhibition.

The project is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the French Institute in Latvia, SIA "PM-TM" and SIA "SBArt". The authors would like to thank Agnese Zeltiņa, Jolanta Treile, Anete Skuja, Maija Zvejniece, the Cēsis Art Festival and Juris Žagars, Rose von Praunheim, Aina Karele, Agita Leja, Aldis Kaupa.

The exhibition will be open in the Liepāja Latvian Society House until 28 September and is free of charge.

Three additional film screenings will be available as part of the exhibition "Witness of the Century. Meeting Valentīna Freimane":

On 8 September at 17.00 "Children of Paradise" (1946, director Marcel Carné)

On 15 September at 17.00 "L'Atalante" (1934, directed by Jean Vigo)

On 22 September at 17.00 "Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot" (1953, directed by Jacques Tati)

An introduction to the each film will be given in the words of V.Freimane, which she gave herself back in 2011 at the Cēsis Art Festival. The film screenings have been produced in collaboration with the French Institute in Latvia and the Cēsis Art Festival and are also free of charge.