Valiant! A Car, a Cause, and the Cold War


The Main 3 Mon, May 9, 2022 7:30 PM
The Main 3 Fri, May 13, 2022 4:45 PM
The Main 3 Wed, May 25, 2022 7:15 PM
Virtual Available In:USA
Ticket Prices
General Public:$15.00 (+$2 online fee)
Members:$10.00 (no online fee)
Student:$8.00 (box office only)
Film Info
Original Title:Valiant! Brauciens uz brivu Latviju
Premiere Status:International Premiere
Festival Programs:New American Visions
Women & Film
Minnesota Made
Women Directors
Minnesota Made
Release Year:2022
Runtime:74 min
Print Source:marapele
Director:Mara Pelecis
Producer:Marianna Auliciema
Cinematographer:Mara Pelecis
Screenwriter:Marianna Auliciema
Mara Pelecis
Dita Gruze
Editor:Dita Gruze


Juris Blodnieks has a secret: under a tarp sits his 1971 Plymouth Valiant, a car that, in the 80s, ferried Latvian freedom activists to protests at the Soviet embassies in Washington and Ottawa. Minneapolis director Mara Vija Pelecis takes this as a launching point to examine the Latvian resistance and the car that helped drive their freedom.


Fifty years after WWII, the struggle to regain Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union was reaching a critical stage. Protests led by Latvians living in exile kept the plight of the Baltic States on the radar of the press, and in turn, drew the attention of U.S. foreign policymakers. Valiant! reveals the strategic thinking that went into creating an effective and newsworthy protest. Now, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s fury at the break-up of the Soviet Union, the actions by the Latvian people, both at home and abroad, takes on greater significance. Active and creative resistance, whatever the form (and whatever your vehicle) is the only option.

Director Biography

Mara Vija Pelecis

Mara Vija Pelecis is a Minnesota born filmmaker who grew up in a Latvian speaking household and learned English from neighborhood friends. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she directed her debut feature Between Latvias (2003) while on a Fulbright in Latvia. Her work explores cultural identities and the residual effects of war and displacement. She directed Souvenirs: Healing After War (2010) and was a producer for Perkons: a VR Rockumentary (2018). Current work includes Trimda Dimd, a short film series on Latvian music during the Cold War.