Directed by Jānis Ābele, comedy, drama, 88 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Matīss Gricmanis
With Jānis Gorškovs, Bruno Bitenieks, Aleksis Tauriņš, Endijs Žuks, Elizabete Zviedre, Alise Dombrovska
The year is 1994 and big changes are about to happen in Jelgava, a small town in Latvia. Fourteen-year-old Jānis is a well-behaved, hard-working and capable student. However, when he falls in love with his classmate, Kristīne, and accidentally makes new friends - nicknamed Death and Zombie, he turns over a new page in his teenager life. Suddenly, Jānis starts dreaming of playing in a band, listening to heavy metal music and wearing the ‘right’ clothes. And, inevitably, he drives his teachers and his parents mad. The story is set against the backdrop of real events in 1994, with such highlights as the prison break in Jelgava, the booming illegal market of music records, and the suicide of Kurt Cobain, the frontman of Nirvana.
Director Jānis Ābele’s second film Jelgava ’94 is based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Jānis Joņevs. As well as a touching coming-of-age story, the film is an accurate portrait of the generation of the 1990s who are searching for their identity in the dawn of the second independence of Latvia. This is a film about the hard-won freedom to misbehave, transgress and, ultimately, about being part of a larger world.