Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Government of Canada


  1. Home

Latvian Cultural Artefact returned with assistance from the Embassy of Canada

Ambassador John Morrison discusses the uniqueness of the film The Non Existent One with Prof., Dr. art. Inga Perkone-Redovica.

The audience before the screening. From the left: Ambassador John Morrison, Dean of the Academy of Culture of Latvia Janis Silins, and Ilze Ziverte , spouse of Martins Ziverts, famous Latvian playwright whose play was adapted for the film’s script.

Shooting of the film The Non Existent One. Photo from the archive of LAC Riga Film Museum.

On May 23, 2013, the Riga Film Museum in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy organised the first screening in Latvia of the film Kāds, Kura Nav (The Non-Existent One), an early masterpiece of Latvian cinema. The film was shot after World Word II in the Blomberg displaced persons camp in 1949 over the course of a year, and is one of the only films to have ever been shot in a displaced persons camp. It features a combination of fictional scenes and real World War II documentary footage.

It is now known that Alberts Jekste, the director of the company “Riga Film”, donated the film to the Canadian Library and Archives when he moved to Canada to resettle after the war. The film was presumed to be forever lost until it was recently discovered in the Canadian Library and Archives. Unfortunately, due to a fire in the storage room many years ago, only 15 minutes of footage and the soundtrack remain intact. Nevertheless, what remained of the film was digitally copied and returned to Latvia with assistance from the Embassy of Canada.

In his speech before the screening, Ambassador John Morrison emphasized the importance of the essential values that Canada and Latvia share, including “an understanding of the importance of cultural heritage and a respect for history”. He also said, “We are not simply presenting a film, but a story. And when we share stories with our friends we all benefit from a deeper understanding of the past that we share.” The screening of this film marked the return of a very important Latvian cultural and historical artefact to its rightful home. Deemed to be lost but now found, The Non-Existent One is finally available to be seen by the wider public.



Date Modified: