• PhD Zane Balčus Latvian Academy of Culture, Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Latvia




documentary cinema, intermediality, Hercs Franks, photography, television


Latvian documentary filmmaker Hercs Franks (1926–2013) directed his first films in 1965, the two short documentaries were produced at the Latvian television’s production unit Telefilma-Rīga: “Salty Bread” (Sāļā maize) and “At Noon” (Pusdienā). Both films reflect an intricate practice and aesthetic element of the director – the use of still photography, which for him is both a research tool and a stylistic device present throughout his career. “Salty Bread” includes photographs as a stylistic element allowing the viewer to prolong observation of particular images, whereas in “At Noon” still photographs feature on the films’ credits, but more significant is photography’s use as a research tool for preparing the film.

The intermedial studies have explored the interrelationship of different media and used intermediality as a tool for close reading of specific works, among other applications. The connection of cinema and photography represent the potential of intermedial approach through the technological, aesthetic, institutional practices. Specifically documentary cinema in its relation to photography shares additional issues of the meaning of documentality and representation of reality.

Through close reading of Hercs Franks’ first films, I would argue that Franks transcends normative documentary function in the use of still photographs [Hallas 2023] and demonstrates the intermedial practice in combining photography and documentary filmmaking.


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