When the character becomes the code of life

  • 2012-07-25
  • By Sam Logger

RIGA - It is obvious that society is full of testimonies of lifestyles, which insert personal characteristics into the surrounding environment. Behind these standards there is a person, one who has always been an individual and a unique subject of observation. Film as a way of expression which has let these testimonies be transformed into a priceless reflection on society.

What happens when a camera is turned around and the filmmaker’s face is seen? Riga Film Museum offers an opportunity to meet one of the most popular film directors, Herz Frank, in the exhibition “Herz Frank Code,” outlining his personality code.

Born in 1926, Frank celebrates his 86th birthday looking back at his encouraging career as a camera man, film director, screenwriter, photographer, lawyer and thinker. The label “world-known” has made Frank one of the most inspiring characters in the industry, hence, the exhibition has tried to document his code, just as he has documented others throughout his life, exploring the meanings of humanity, art and life and how they interact to demonstrate what we can call the essence of being alive.

The code, presented in the exhibition, arguably gives something more than a documented file – it displays small units of a person who has found his path in movies, professions and memories, which are all imprinted on his childhood in Ludza, a town in eastern Latvia. It shows the legacy of Frank’s father as a photographer, his own law studies and experience as a journalist and teacher.

His catalogue of works includes more than 40 films; many of them have gained international acknowledgement. “Ten Minutes Older,” which takes up 10 minutes of a child’s recognition of the good and evil, has served as an inspiration for other directors, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Bernardo Bertolucci. The film “The Last Judgment” shows a different scene – the confession of a criminal.

Frank’s approach to discover the deepest emotions of people who try to deal with various obstacles they come across in their lives always challenges the tragedy which lies within. Thus, it is never easy or comfortable enough to be a spectator without a personal view, as it can strictly oppose what can be seen on screen. So what is the truest face of this dynamic, expressive and talented role-model?

“There will be a story about a director, who has taught [others] to see the hidden message of things in his films. About a person whose revelations of truth radiate moral strength over the boundaries of time and countries,” film expert Agris Redovics states. Thus, this is where the stream of questions, inspirited by the character himself, appears.
What is the purpose of the documentary? Is it created to start an argument or bring peace? What heroes are left in society? Can we understand them better if we have met them?

Questions addressed to the documentaries link with life itself, confronting the character to find answers for a better understanding of this essence. The exhibition is probably another separate piece of the puzzle to comprehend his vision of the game which demands a constant searching, and requires a concrete determination. Moreover, visitors must be ready to realize that there is more than a simple destiny which we choose as our journey, and that goals which are set give a bigger impact on our lives than we tend to think.

Does this exhibition show the famous film director, Herz Frank, as he is, without any disguise? Most likely, not completely! As for every artist, there is room left for a secret, where the thinking must be turned on to start reading between the gaps and lines! Still, visitors are enabled to seek the purpose, just like Frank has asked. Is it easier to find? The boundaries have actually never existed, so the imagination is allowed to travel around. Yet, do not forget to investigate where the code is buried, as it may possibly be the main task in the exhibition! A small hint, if there is a necessity for it – look inside the character!

The exhibition is open till Oct.1.
Riga Film Museum
Peitavas St. 10/12
More information can be found at: www.kinomuzejs.lv