Laila Pakalniņa’s Retrospective at the Pompidou Centre

For two weeks starting May 3, 2019, a retrospective of director Laila Pakalniņa’s documentary films will be shown at the Pompidou Centre in Paris – 20 films that have been made over a span of 30 years.


Friday, May 3, the opening of Latvian film director Laila Pakalniņa’s documentary film retrospective will take place in one of the largest contemporary art centres in Paris – the Centre Pompidou – 20 films in 7 screenings, each screening shown twice. The retrospective, entitled Laila Pakalniņa. Drôle de reel, will run for two weeks until May 17. The films were selected by the Pompidou Centre’s documentary film cinematheque specialists, after watching all the documentary films the director has made since the beginning of the 1990s.

The 20 films in the programme begin chronologically with her 1991 Moscow Film School (VGIK) graduation work Veļa / The Linen, which later, together with her short films Prāmis / The Ferry (1994) and Pasts / The Mail (1995), formed the “Pakalniņa Trilogy” collection that brought the director her first big international recognition – the FIPRESCI award at the Cannes Film Festival 1996. Since then Laila Pakalniņa is the only Latvian director whose films have been selected for various programmes in all of the most significant international film festivals – Cannes, Venice, Berlin and others –, and have also received nominations for the European Film Awards.

The newest Laila Pakalniņa film in the Pompidou Centre retrospective is her 2017 film Zirdziņ, hallo! / Hello, Horse! that premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. The director is currently working on three films, and her feature-length documentary Karote / Spoon will premiere this summer. Laila Pakalniņa’s work method is working with a proven, regular creative team. Most of the Pompidou Centre’s selected films have been shot by cinematographers Gints Bērziņš and Uldis Jancis, and her circle of like-minded creatives also includes sound director Anrijs Krenbergs and film editor Kaspar Kallas (Estonia).

Laila Pakalniņa’s retrospective in Paris is organized by the Pompidou Centre, the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Embassy of Latvia in France. The director herself as well as the  Latvian Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde will be present at the first screening. In honour of this event, the National Film Centre of Latvia has published a 32-page booklet in English and French about Laila Pakalniņa’s creative work – for a PDF version CLICK HERE. The Pompidou Centre has also included a lengthy write up of the retrospective in its Spring 2019 catalogue, and Laila Pakalniņa’s name is on the cover next to the American documentary masters, brothers Albert and David Maysles.

The Pompidou Centre, which was commissioned in Paris in 1969 and opened in 1977 as a new style of contemporary museum and cultural activity hub, in a short time became one of the most impressive and influential contemporary arts institutions in Europe. It receives around 3.5 million visitors per year (for more information – ).