Heart of Darkness

After its pass for the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes 2019, the Juris Kursietis film arrives at the Visionär Film Festival. Oleg is a young Latvian butcher who travels to Brussels in search of a better wage but a series of misfortunes lead him to fall under the influence of a Polish criminal. The film is a visually tremendous and highly expressive since it uses unadulterated hand-held camera work similar to the social realism films by the Dardenne brothers. In that sense, the imagery that Bogumil Godfrejów, director of photography, creates is sublime.

Oleg has a strong script with an array of astonishing supportive characters like Andrezj, a terrifying Polish mobster, Malgosia, his faint-hearted girlfriend, and Zita, a chauvinistic middle-class Belgian woman. Together they represent a universe easy to identify in our society: one with racism, class consciousness and machismo. The film’s most important gift is its ability to portray social situations with currency and authenticity leaving the audience breathless. Like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Oleg is a brutal and gritty journey of survival that highlights the sociopolitical impacts of immigration in the European community making it an instant must watch.

Daniel Sanchez Lopez

About the Director

Juris Kursietis (1983) worked for six years on Latvian national television as an international journalist. After a Master’s degree in cinema from the Northern Media School in the United Kingdom, he became an assistant director on a number of Latvian movies. He directed his first feature-length film Modris, between 2012 and 2013. In 2014, the film was selected for Toronto, San Sebastian New Directors (Special Jury prize), Warsaw, Cottbus, Thessaloniki, Leeds, Goa, Tbilissi (Best Director), Riga (Best First Film and Best Actress in a supporting role), FesbioFest, Bergamo, Guadalajara, Chicago, Vilnius, Fajr, Brussels, ArtFilmFest, Kinoshock (Best Director), Helsinki, CinEast, Lübeck, Santa Barbara, Prishtina and Busan. Oleg, his second film, was pitched at the ARCS Coproduction Village in 2016 and the first images where shown at the Karlovy Vary work-in-progress in 2018. The film has been selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, 2019.

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