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Commemorative Plaque for the Outstanding Film Director Herz Frank Has Been Unveiled in Riga

26-Jun-2014 / Charity & Sponsorship A commemorative plaque in honour of the outstanding Soviet and Latvian documentary film director Herz Frank (1926-2013) was solemnly unveiled in Riga.

The commemorative plaque was installed with the support of the Rietumu Charity Fund.

The film director and script writer Herz Frank is one of the brightest and most recognised Soviet and Latvian film makers, an acknowledged luminary of documentaries, a prize winner of a great number of international festivals and one of the founders of the Riga documentary film school.

The commemorative plaque was installed in the centre of Riga, on the building located at 29 Lacplesa St., where the master lived from 1960 to 1993, which was the most fruitful period of his life.

At the solemn unveiling ceremony of the commemorative plaque, a speech was delivered by the Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia, Member of the Council of Rietumu Bank, one of the founders of the similarly-named Charity Fund Arkady Suharenko. “Herz Frank has made a huge contribution to the world of film art. I was lucky to be personally acquainted with this outstanding man – he always had a lot of ideas and creative plans, which he implemented enthusiastically. The installation of this commemorative plaque is one of the deeds that is very close to my heart. This is a memorial symbol that will decorate our city,” emphasised Mr Suharenko.

The unveiling ceremony was held with the participation of recognised figures of the Latvian film industry, members of the Latvian filmmakers union, colleagues, friends and relatives of Herz Frank.

Herz Frank was born in Ludza in Eastern Latvia. In 1947 he graduated from military school and the Sverdlovsk Branch of the All-Union Correspondence Law Institute, was a journalist and a photographer and worked at the Riga Film Studios from 1959.

As a film director, he made around 40 films. The works of Herz Frank are characterised by philosophical depth and high artistic figurativeness, which distinguish them from among a great many documentaries that fulfil a mostly informative function.

Huge success and international recognition was brought to Herz Frank by his film “10 Minutes Older” (cameraman Juris Podnieks, 1978). This film, shot in one aeroplane by a hidden camera and done fully without editing, has become an acknowledged classic and inspired the director Wim Wenders to create the almanac “10 Minutes Older”. Other widely recognised films by Frank are “The Last Judgement” (1987), “The Song of Songs” (1989), “A Prayer” (1990), etc.

Herz Frank is the author of the script of the documentary “The White Bells” (1961), included in the list of the world’s best documentaries, as well as the famous film “235 000 000” (1967). One of his last films “Flashback”, a kind of self-portrait and a unique example of self-analysis, has received awards at many film festivals. Herz Frank devoted several years to his film “Eternal Rehearsal” (1994-2008). When working on his last films, Herz Frank was also a cameraman.

Herz Frank is the author of the books “The Map of Ptolemy. Notes of a Documentary Film Maker” (1975), “Look Around on the Doorstep. Publication of Different Periods” (2009), as well as around 160 articles devoted to the art of documentary.

Herz Frank is a laureate of the State Prize of the Latvian SSR (1967), an Honoured Arts Worker of the Latvian SSR (1975). In 2011 he was awarded the Latvian Order of Three Stars and became an Honorary Professor of the Latvian Academy of Culture. From 1993 until the end of his life Herz Frank lived in Israel and lectured at film schools of different countries, while continuing to work in Riga as well.

Eleonora Gailisha
Mass Media and Public Relations
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