Defenders of Riga (Rigas sargi) (2008)




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The true story of Latvia's struggle for independence sets the stage for this epic-scale historical drama. Martins (Janis Reinis) is a Latvian patriot who joins the Army during World War I to help defeat Germany and help his homeland become a free state after hundreds of years of occupation. Martins's decision means he must postpone his wedding to beautiful Elza (Elita Klavina), though she pledges to wait for him. In 1918, the great war finally draws to a close, but while Latvia is finally free, Martins and a handful of other former soldiers learn that Russian and German forces are intent upon reclaiming the nation as their own. Determined that no one will take away their freedom, Martins organizes a band of homegrown guerillas to fight off the invaders. Rigas Sargi (aka Defenders of Riga) was the most costly Latvian film to date at the time of its release, and the sets constructed for the production were kept standing after shooting was completed and opened to the public as a historical exhibit. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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