held on May 3 - 9, 1997 in Jurmala, Latvia
European Documentary Film Symposiums Riga, 1999
Abram Kletzkin

The problem is even wider. Who told you that the person in front of the mirror is not this person? It is one of his/her manifestations. It is therefore very important to understand that no film will ever present a person in his/her entirety, but only in one or several of his aspects.

One more thing should probably be reminded of: we always deal with a double portrait. We somehow tend to forget that two people are involved, in fact: not only the person in front of the camera, but also the one operating the camera. They are both brought to the light and revealed.

As soon as one symposium is over, you naturally start thinking about the next one, which does not necessarily mean that it will really take place, though I hope it will. Two years is a big span in our life, but I believe that we are already ripe for the really fundamental question: "What is documentary cinema?" While discussing different versions of the answer and raising very important questions we must, in fact, comprehend anew the place of documentary cinema in the world, our own place in documentary cinema, and, for that matter, the role of this symposium. If this is not realised, there will be no progress, and the impression will be the same as with Victor at the beginning of this symposium: how long can you harp on the same string. Even though this is not true, it is largely just an impression, there is a grain of truth in it. The reason is not only that we are all from the 60-ies, the reason is also that we have not yet conceptualised the cardinally new situation in documentary cinema. In all respects, and first of all in the self-awareness of documentary cinema. This symposium had been initiated with one aim in mind: to try to understand what happens to us, what happens to the cinema. And we have to stick to it.

I should like to thank everybody, very sincerely. Not only for your participation and the discussion, but also for the spirit. We had a warm feeling not only here, but also in that cold hall, and I hope that these meetings will contribute to more long-term relationships, human relationships. I also hope that this helps not only in making films, but also in life.

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