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The Baltic and Central European states are preparing to join the European Union. Their laws are being harmonized and economies are being integrated. Yet, the half-century long separation of the former socialist countries from Western Europe has created remarkable social and psychological differences between the residents of the former Soviet block and the EU citizens.
In the process of building a united Europe, these problems will be unavoidable.
Human dramas in the first contacts with the West, the crumbling dreams of East European peoples under illusion about instant and effortless prosperity, along with unexpectedly brilliant careers, thanks to a united Europe; Western peoples fear of the East and pleasant discoveries in the former socialist territory; mutual aid and new cutthroat competition.
The film will talk about things that we rarely hear and read about in the discussions and decisions of the politicians from Strasbourg and Brussels: about the lives of ordinary people, real and full of passions, which are still divided by borders, customs checkpoints and the still persisting arrogance of the nations from the former empires. In the film, the East will be represented by the people of Latvia, with theirdrawbacks and merits that they can give to Europe.

For featuring in the film, we have selected stories of five subjects.
Besides the fact that these people are interesting and attractive individuals, their activities, without the need to declare it explicitly, demonstrate problems of interest of the authors.

Five years or so ago, Lucienne Erbier, a cheese master from France, like most French farmers, had never heard of such country: decided to embark on some big adventures. Not to Africa or Asia, but to the wild and exotic Latvia, as somebody had described this country to him in a cafe of Turin. In the three years spent in Latvia, he ended up in quite a few dramatic and comic situations; yet, now he has started producing French Camembert and believes that he has never lived such and interesting life as now in Latvia.

Andris, a highly qualified construction worker, without much enthusiasm, is going to work to Spain, where a Latvian building company has received a commission, and the local workers consider him a competitor. One evening at a cafe, he gets a beating, but is defended by a local resident, Jose, who becomes Andris’ friend and whom Andris helps to learn about and grow fond of Latvia.

For two years, the 23 years old Elina Garanca has sung in Germany, Meinigen Opera. his year, in September, she will make a debut at the Frankfurt Opera. Elina believes that, without Latvia coming closer to Europe, her artistic career would be impossible. At the Riga Opera, the repertory is too small for her exceptional voice a lyric mezzo soprano. Germany, where such kind of a voice is a rarity, also, has benefited from her arrival, too. For now, Elina’s lifestyle radiates a sense of loveliness. Yet, the young singer, is ready to endure hardships in order to realize her talent.

The love of Ieva, a Latvian girl, and Franco, an Italian boy, clashes against the barriers created by differences in mentality and tradition in the most pure and obvious form. The girl visits her boyfriend's family; Franco’s parents like the blond girl no less than their son does. For the first time in her life, Ieva experiences such a warm reception, given to her by the Italian family. Delicious meals, carefree trips in the Apennine peninsula, gifts, meeting of numberless Franco’s relatives, Franco’s own adoration and serenades on the beach Ieva gets into quite a few comic situations, of the kind she had only seen in the Italian movies before. Everyone wants the young people to get married. But Ieva has been raised in a different family. Guided by the stereotype that people from Eastern Europe are eager to live in the West, Franco’s father is astounded when the Latvian girl doubts the possibility of living in Italy. Franco, on the other hand, does not see opportunities for his career development in Latvia. They both adore each other, but are equal partners and realize that life will continue beyond the honeymoon. How to overcome the barrier of different cultures?

In general terms, this question could be formulated as follows:
how can the peoples of Europe integrate, at the same time preserving their uniqueness and specific characteristics?

The proposed documentary film, apart from showing the emergence of mutual understanding or the process of psychological integration of the European peoples, would also be a full - fledged work of art with interesting characters, as well as an entertaining showpiece.

Talivaldis Margevics

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