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What Ralph Fiennes thinks about Riga

By Andra Kunstberga. 07.05.2014

Ralph Fiennes
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Actor Ralph Fiennes pleasantly surprised by Riga

British actor Ralph Fiennes visited Riga in March to dub the role of Rakitin in the film “Two Women”, directed by Russian director Vera Glagoleva. Here are his impressions of the city, according to the city promotion team at Live Riga. 

What is your first impression of Riga?

It’s small and calm. Riga seems to resemble some German towns, while there is also something of Russia; possibly, Soviet experience is felt and this historical period. But it's not meant in a bad sense; it just makes this city different from the rest of Europe. You're in Europe, you feel it, it looks like Europe, but it is still somehow different. The people, the language, the atmosphere. It is an interesting fusion that doesn’t leave you untouched. In Riga you can notice the details; they actually get your attention.

But what I liked was the peace that I could enjoy and therefore it was much easier to work. The weather is wonderful, and the people are nice and helpful.

I'm moving all the time, work in many countries of the world on different projects with different people in big cities with crowds and noise, but here you feel as if you are in a haven. Everything seems so miniature with the world in the background. Here there are no crowds like in the metropolises, no overwhelming flow of people or dynamic. But there is something else. I like it, even more than like it. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised.

I hadn't had a chance to hear or think about Riga before, or pay attention to what's new, so I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out that this is indeed a nice, attractive and culturally rich city. I was probably expecting more similarities with Russia, which I now know quite well and diversely, but actually it isn't at all like Russia. Only the cultural influence can be felt.

I wouldn’t say I could live here, but I am really happy to have had the chance to get to know Riga. You have a really rich culture, cultural influences from different countries and yet something of your own. I think anyone could find something for themselves here – in art, culture, architecture, music; this is a city that one can enjoy like a good wine or good food – slowly, carefully, paying attention to every detail.

And, of course, the Baltic Sea. It's such a fortune to have a seaside so close to the city, just a 30 minute ride. Anytime you need to take a break, go for a walk, breath some fresh air... A wonderful place to think, a chance to focus your energy, relax. On the final day we were on the seaside for a short while; it was very beautiful.


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