Latvia – Darta Vijgrieze, Splendid Palace (Riga)

Latvia – Darta Vijgrieze

Cinema for me is…

Darta in 23 Frames

1. Describe yourself in ten words.
Loyal, ambitious, curious, hard-working, coffee-addict who sometimes makes too spontaneous decisions.

2. Your best quality? Your worst habit?
Creative thinking. Creating long watchlists of films I’d like to see but never find the time for.

3. Your dream job?
Development producer for HETV.

4. What do you like most about your country?
Baltic folk traditions, the Summer and the Winter Solstice rituals and the strong local connection to nature.

5. Your favorite dish in your country?
Aukstā zupa (a traditional cold beet soup), which is a perfectly refreshing seasonal Summer dish. The cooking process involves picking the necessary ingredients from the garden and making it on a hot Latvian Summer day. Ideally, while still wearing a bikini right after a day spent at the beach.

6. Which word or phrase in your native language do you like the most and what does it mean?
“Pūst pīlītes”, which literally translated from Latvian means “blow ducklings”. It’s a silly idiom meaning “to lie”.

7. What European capital have you visited lately?
Lisbon. I somehow always find myself in Lisbon.

8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
I’ve had the chance to live in quite a few European countries and cities and I absolutely love the South, but I’m still looking to explore Scandinavia.

9. What does Europe mean to you? 3 values.
Equality, freedom, solidarity.

10. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
I don’t remember there being a specific film, but Stanley Kubrick’s films were likely on my watch-list in the early days as I started to emerge as a self-proclaimed connaisseur of cinema.

11. Your favorite film theatre? What do you like about it?
Cinema Splendid Palace – the most stunning Riga’s cinema in every way. For me, going to Splendid Palace feels like a celebration of the film-going culture. Just entering the Rococo-style building for a film screening is a reminder of how deep-rooted entertainment industry is in our history and culture. Also, Splendid Palace provides a brilliant platform for emerging filmmakers. I recall visiting it for workshops during high school years, and now I go there for premieres, film festivals and other significant events with film industry professionals whenever I’m back home.

12. Who is your movie hero?
Instead of a single hero I’ve got a long list of interesting characters, heroes and anti-heroes I’m captivated by and they’re all genre-dependant. Any of Edgar Wright’s characters for comedy, Robert Eggers’ or Jordan Peele’s for horror. Then there’re the flawed drama heroes Paul Thomas Anderson creates or any of the Charlie Kaufman’s multifaceted protagonists.

13. Which movie director would you like to be?
Probably Greta Gerwig. Female directors all the way!

14. Briefly describe your favorite scene.
The every sad-funny scene of Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise (1991,US), the greatest feminist road-trip film of all time. As Louise starts the car for the final time, she announces they have been charged with murder and Thelma asks “Gosh, didn’t he say anything positive at all?” before they both take off down the road for the final time.

15. What are the 3 best European films you have seen in the last year?
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Céline Sciamma, 2019, FR)
Zimna wojna / Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2018, PL)
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018, GB).

16. Which film character do you most identify with?
I’m always looking out for relatable female characters in the film scene. Awkwafina’s portrayal of Billi in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (2019, US)) is a recent highlight.

17. Your favorite soundtrack or song?
Icelandic composer’s and musician’s Hildur Guðnadóttir soundtrack for Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019, US).

18. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019, US). Would love to revisit the 1960s Hollywood and have a peek at the interesting, yet brutal perspective on Hollywood nostalgia Tarantino recreated.

19. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
Phoebe-Waller Bridge.

20. Which talent would you most like to have?
Any musical talent. Would be nice to sing along at karaoke parties without completely embarrassing myself!

21. What is your most treasured possession?
My camera and my collection of screenwriting books.

22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Successfully spending three years studying film production at the University of Westminster in London and somewhat defining my goals.

23. What is your motto?
Live life and take chances, because all that happens, happens for the best. Or when there’s a will, there’s a way. Always.

Darta Vijgrieze is the Ambassador of Splendid Palace (Riga). Find out more about the Cinema here.