My Favorite War

****

Reviewed by: Mladen Pechevski

My Favourite War
"Thoughtful and intriguing, while suitable for all ages." | Photo: Courtesy of Warsaw International Film Festival

Thoughtful and intriguing, while suitable for all ages, My Favorite War, an animated documentary exploring the Soviet rule of Latvia, is a sound example of how a deeply personal story can suddenly become very inclusive, even for people who have only heard stories about the not-so-distant realities of Eastern Europe. Despite combining animation, live action, and archive footage, the film remains easy to follow due to the insightful observations and vivid imagination of the young narrator and subsequent director of the film, Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen.

The Latvian-Norwegian director gently sketches the tensions in her family, contrasting her father, who fervently served the Communist Party until his untimely death, with her mother, who lived with the taint of her own father’s conviction as an “enemy of the state.”

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The provocative title refers to the Second World War, whose memory the state regularly invoked to stir up feelings of patriotism; the young Ilze became obsessed with it as a result. Experiencing her first encounter with death in a sandbox, her incomprehension in the face of propaganda, and the alarming poverty in which she lives, young Ilze becomes aware of the reality that surrounds her as she grows up. Her gradual rejection of state ideology forms the film’s main narrative thread.

My Favorite War portrays a double war – on the one hand, the war of Ilze, who dreams of becoming a journalist, but struggles with writing about the truth, and on the other, the political one against an authoritarian state. The film resonates with universal significance, recalling that the fight for freedom is never over.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2020
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My Favorite War packshot
The director recalls the impact of Soviet propaganda on her childhood.

Director: Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen

Writer: Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen

Year: 2020

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Norway, Latvia

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