The 6th Annual New York Baltic Film Festival (NYBFF) presented by Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America returns this November with the best new films from the Baltic region! This year’s lineup includes the International Premiere of Ināra Kolmane’s Soviet Milk (Mātes piens, Latvia/Belgium, 2023), a poignant exploration of resilience and sacrifice set against the backdrop of Soviet-occupied Latvia from 1945-89. The film will screen in-person at Scandinavia House on November 11 at 5:30 PM and virtually from November 12-19. *Soviet Milk film score composer Raimonds Tiguls will be present for a Q&A.*
In this gripping tale based on Nora Ikstena’s bestselling novel, Soviet Milk chronicles the life of Astra (Maija Doveika), a talented young doctor whose life unravels in her defiant struggle against the totalitarian regime of occupied Soviet Latvia. Stripped of her career, her joy for life, and even her maternal instincts (resulting in her denying her baby breast milk), Astra finds herself adrift in a repressive society — until her teenage daughter Nora (Rūta Kronberga) and intersex friend Jesse (Zane Bierande) begin to emerge as her steadfast allies. As Nora and Jesse begin to navigate the same oppressive landscape seeking truth and purpose, they form a tight-knit support system to aid Astra’s battle with her overwhelming depression.
Directed with a profound understanding of the subject matter, the film is a tour de force of female-led storytelling, sensitively capturing the tumultuous lives of its characters as they wrestle with personal demons while confronting an authoritarian regime. Employing a dual narrative that traverses the shifting landscape of the Soviet era, the film gracefully navigates the passage of time, while its meticulously crafted setting and palpable sense of surveillance artfully capture an era of constant uncertainty and pervasive mistrust.