PELNU SANATORIJA EXILED
When the German army doctor Ulrich shows up in a Latvian sanatorium, the war invalids there are startled by his uniform, and his methods fail to heal what ails them. As an impassive, rational person, he must first learn that a sympathetic look and a hug can have a greater healing and bonding effect than his knowledge of medical science. While a close relationship develops between the doctor and the wolf boy Kaspars, the hostile atmosphere towards his patients surrounding him threatens to boil over. Kaspars is singled out in particular for persecution as a supposed incarnation of the devil. And all the while the bombing raids keep drawing closer and closer... Dāvis Sīmanis stages his timely take on the First World War as a drama with horror film elements and a re-examination of the original catastrophe of the 20th century. When fear of the other leads to acts of violence against the sick and weak in this feature film debut, the enlightened world begins a precipitous descent into barbarism, a theme that endows the film with particular relevance for the European present in this yet young 21st century. Cameraman Andrejs Rudzāts captures the confrontation between myth and enlightenment brilliantly in images embodying a struggle between darkness and light, seemingly inspired by the chiaroscuro painting style of the likes of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. In the lead role, Ulrich Matthes gazes with sombre eyes into the heart of darkness, only to discover his humanity staring back at him.
Born in 1980 in Riga, the director, theoretician and academic holds a PhD in Arts from the Academy of Culture in Riga as well as a master’s degree in Philosophy. He teaches at the Academy of Culture, University of Riga and Aalto University in Helsinki. His documentary films have been screened at several international film festivals. Moreover, Sīmanis publishes analytical and philosophical articles in magazines and frequently participates in television shows. PELNU SANATORIJA / EXILED is his first fiction feature.
2009 // VALKYRIE LIMITED (doc)2010 // PASAULES SKAŅA / SOUNDS UNDER THE SUN (doc)2012 // PĒDĒJĀ TEMPLA HRONIKAS / CHRONICLES OF THE LAST TEMPLE (doc)2014 // ESCAPING RIGA (doc)2016 // PELNU SANATORIJA / EXILED