A Dose of Raimonds Pauls’ charm in European Parliament

A Dose of Raimonds Pauls’ charm in European Parliament
Ildze Kaņepāja . prior to presentation of the film – Vija Beinerte (on the left) and Inese Vaidere
Kaspars Zaviļeiskis
16-05-2013 A+ A-
Early this week, on May 14, composer Raimonds Pauls’ insatiable will to work and refreshing irony was allowed to take over European Parliament in Brussels for half an hour. No, he has not moved to the capital of Belgium to take a seat in the Parliament. But Inese Vaidere is very active in her work, using the opportunity to organize events – in this case, premiere of director Vija Beinerte’s film about Raimonds Pauls – popularizing the culture of Latvia in one of the central structures of European legislation.

Moments of culture-oriented reprieve are more than needed in the grandiose, politically pulsating EU Parliament building. Therefore, it is small wonder that colleagues are frequently seen in this kind of events, which members of EU Parliament invite to. And more than that: these functions are open to audience outside the circles of people employed in the building, which is an opportunity welcomed by Latvians, for example, who live and work in Brussels. Perhaps, these gatherings will not be widely announced by gigantic banners in the city landscape, but it is not necessary, as the team working in Inese Vaidere’s office has taken account of all Latvians living in Brussels and forwards them information, as one on the presentation of Beinerte’s film this time.


This time, the usual range of guests included also visitors from Latvia, as Inese Vaidere was receiving a group of compatriots from different corners of our country, for many of whom this journey was a reward – for excellence in library work, for example, or as a prize for a won competition. Therefore, we were in a veritable national screening event, attended by more than just Latvian nationals. It is true that the hall could not count as film theatre in the classical sense of the word, as the film was demonstrated in one of the conference halls, which, for the audience, turned into an opportunity to get a sense of being a EU Parliament member, which even added charm to entire experience. Press the button in front of you and express your thoughts on the urgent questions…! Nobody used the opportunity, thou.

It is a joke, of course. However, Inese Vaidere and Vija Beinerte briefly addressed the audience and then the film could begin – and win quite energetic round of applause in the end.

‘I am very pleased and even happy that I have this opportunity to bring the excellent Latvian culture to European Parliament in this form of art,’ contented Mrs. Vaidere said to cultural portal 'Riga 2014' at the reception following the screening. ‘I have been proud of Latvia’s Song and Dance Festival here and we have presented films ‘The Soviet Story,’ ‘Dream Team 1935’ and now also the film about Raimonds Pauls ‘The Wheel of Life Goes Round and Round’ (“Zib mūža rats”). This film is also special, as two outstanding personalities have met to create it. One of them is Vija Beinerte who is an excellent director. Latvian cinema would be worth something even if we did not have anything apart from her film ‘All Because of that Bat Paulīne,’ which, of course, is not the case! And another great personality is the one in the center of this film – Raimonds Pauls in all his complexity paired with incredible industry and his record of being demanding to himself and the others. Vija has mentioned that, initially, the title of the up-coming film had been ‘All Because of that Bat Pauls’ and I find it wonderful because it is this composer’s positive fool-hardiness, which has made Latvian music what it is. He has initiated so many things and found so many young singers that he must be perceived as absolutely unique. If his peak time had coincided with free Latvia, he would certainly be widely known in the world.

I would compare him to Nino Rota who is well-known, but I think that Raimonds Pauls is even more excellent melody-maker.

Therefore, it is wonderful that we have a chance to present our excellence in European Parliament.’

Director of the film Vija Beinerte, who had overcome her initial reservations about the premiere venue, was equally excited.

‘These are all good emotions, as the work has been done, and now I have an opportunity to return to it and conclude that it has a power to reach people,’ she said. ‘When there are those moments of warmth in the film, you feel it was worth doing it all! It was a very interesting adventure as it must have been the first time when I saw film screened not even in half-darkness, but in half-light. I was taught when young that you need light to shoot the film and darkness – to screen it. But it is impossible in EU Parliament, which is why I was glad to see that it still could be perceived.

Pauls’ charm and charisma reaches you from the screen as well and is not lost on those who must read English subtitles.’

In order to present Pauls more successfully to the public for which he is less known or even completely unknown, a different poster was designed for the screening in Brussels, which is more characteristic of him and more elegant than one seen in Riga.

‘There is no use to introduce Pauls here with an old wrist watch, bought in Armenia, and – in his flannel shirt,’ commented Vija. ‘It would mean nothing, much like our initial title ‘All Because of that Bat Pauls,’ which could raise associations only at home, while here people know neither Pauls, nor Paulīne.’

As other our compatriots living in Brussels agreed in conversation with portal, the event was a success and, in European Parliament, such should, of course, be continued.

‘I have a couple of ideas in development, but I will not expand on those, for the time being,’ Mrs. Vaidere revealed. ‘I certainly plan to continue to introduce people in Brussels to Latvian culture as it is our main value.

We do not have ore and oil, but we have culture. And culture is seen in today’s world as even more valuable than natural resources.’

Asked whether other members of Parliament use such less-approbated opportunities to present their culture in this structure, she told that they are used by those who perceive them as important. ‘In my view, they have to be used!’ Inese Vaidere underlined. ‘Here, we can organize events, both, for Latvians working in Brussels and other nationals in European Parliament!’

Here you are! Politicized architectural colossus, so forbidding at the first sight, can be turned into cultural venue, which is good news, of course. Moreover, not only elected members of Parliament can call events there, but embassies and other institutions as well. Latvians living in Brussels, it seems, can hardly complain about shortage of Latvian culture there as already on May 17 they have an opportunity to see the film ‘Mother, I love you’ directed by Jānis Nords to be followed by concert-film of group Brainstorm ‘Another still life’. If you are interested on these screenings, information is found on the website of Latvian association in Brussels.


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