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Illustration: Oskars Pavlovskis

The Year 2013 in Review: Best Book and Film of 2013? 0

Since early December the staff of has been on a mission to contact the many creative intellectuals from the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Russia in order to discover which exhibition, film, book, disappointment and surprise has created the most memorable impression of the year 2013. Now we can finally reveal all of our findings. 

Read in Archive: The most important cultural events in the Baltics and Scandinavia in 2013

Jana Winderen, Norvegian artist

Book: Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts. Movie: The Act of Killing by Joshua Oppenheimer.

Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, curator of Tallinn Photomonth

Book: Marcel Duchamp – The Afternoon Interviews (2013, by Calvin Thomas, published by Badlands Unlimited) and Dublinesque (2012, by Enrique Vila–Matas, published by Harvill Secker). Movie: La Grande Bellezza (2013, directed by Paolo Sorrentino) and Oh Boy (2012, Jan Ole Gerster).

Milena Hoegsberg, chief curator at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Høvikodden  

Book: I just started Jonathan Crary's 24/7 and have high hopes for it. I read my first book in Norwegian this year – De svarte skiltene, by Lars Mørch Finborud, a newcomer on the literary stage who deserves mention (Gyldendal). The New Yorker, for its supply of consistently well-researched and well-written articles on a range of current topics.

Movie: There were several memorable longer film works by artists, and some older works that were new to me, including artist Erik Baudelaire's The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu and Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images (2011), which I only saw this year at Haus der Kulturen der Welt; Omer Fast's work, Everything That Rises Must Converge, at Frieze; David Panos and Anja Kirchner's Ultimate-Substance (2012), at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein; and at the Venice Biennial, films by Hito Steyerl and Camille Henrot. In terms of dramatic works, I am planing to go see the much-lauded and debated Blue Is the Warmest Color, and I can already tell that it will make the list.

Pirkko Siitari, director  of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Book: Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved. Movie: I'd rather mention a theater performance – The Fourth Road, at the Finnish National Theatre. An amazing experience.

Kati Kivinen, curator at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Book: Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn (October Books). Movie: Alaska Highway, by Aleksi Salmenperä.

Suvi Saloniemi, curator at the Helsinki Design museum

Book: One of the most interesting was Metahaven's e-book, Can Jokes Bring Down Governments (Strelka Press), about memes and their political power, and how they are considered the new political graphic design form for today. Movie: I usually don't watch so many films, but I really enjoyed the suspense I experienced when watching Argoand The Bling Ring. The very excellent video art show I saw at Stedelijk, by Aernout Mik. In addition, the scenography and technical installation of the show was remarkable.

Sune Nordgren, Swedish art curator

Book: Geir Lippestad's Det kan vi stå for. Movie: Lukas Moodyson's Vi är bäst.

Tanel Veenre, Estonian jewellery artist

Book: Memoirs of Count by Sergei Mihhailovitš Volkonski. Movie: La grande bellezza (2013Paolo Sorrentin) and Jagten (Thomas Vintenberg, 2012).

Romas Zabaraukas, Lithuanian filmmaker

Book: New Queer Cinema: The Director's Cut, by B. Ruby Rich. Movie: I've focused on my own film – I didn't see enough other films to answer adequately.

Marge Monko, Estonian artist

Book: Museum of Innocence, by Orhan Pamuk. A beautifully written, profoundly sad love story, but also a sensitive portrayal of Istanbul and its society in the 1970s. Also recommended is a visit to the museum of the same name, in Istanbul. Movie: Barbara, by Christian Petzold (including the song by Chic, which accompanied the final credits). I was also intrigued by the experimental short film, Viola, directed by the young Argentinian director Matías Piñeiro. I'm looking forward to his next film!

Mark Raidpere, Estonian artist

Book: Lars Saabye Christensen's Half-Brother (originally 2002, published in Estonian in 2003). Movie: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (dir. John McNaughton, USA, 1986).

Helvijs Savickis, Latvian architect, currently studying in Vienna

Book: Rudolf Arnheim. Power of Center (University of California Press, 1983). Composition- and proportion-based analysis of art; but what made this book special is that within only a couple of chapters, Arnheim sketches out how to analyze architecture in the context of form and proportion. In order to avoid the blind use of such banal terms as “this house sits well”, or, “this house doesn't sit well”.

Dāvis Kaņepe, script writer, director, and head of the Kaņepes Kultūras centrs (Latvia)

Book: Unastoria, by Gipi – an unprecedented event: for the first time, a graphic novel was nominated in the Fictional Book Category for Italy's Literature of the Year Award. Gipi (1963) is an illustrator and cartoonist who has developed a very original and deep way of telling a story. Unastoria is his latest work after a three-year hiatus in the comic genre.

Ieva Zībarte, Latvian architect

Movie: La vie d'Adèle (2013) and Filth (2013). I look upon both as reminders that we can do without psuedo-positivism in art.

Kaspars Zariņš, Latvian painter

Movie: I haven't yet seen a film that is better that Lars von Trier's Melancholia, and I am impatiently awaiting his newest work, Nymphomaniacs. Book: From the books that I've read, Dan Brown's Inferno.

Mārtiņš Mielavs, manager of the nightclub Piens (Latvia)

Movie: La grande bellezzaTo the WonderBlue is the Warmest Color, and Despicable Me 2.

Kristīne Kursiša, Latvian artist

Movie: The video Grosse fatigue (2013), by Cammille Henrot. Book: The exhibition catalog from When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013.

Jānis Mitrēvics, creative director at Dd studio (Latvia)

Book: It was interesting to read the book about Steve Jobs, but the film was a catastrophe!

Karlīna Vītoliņa, Latvian photographer

Book: I'm rereading Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida, piecemeal. Movie: I liked Only Lovers Left Alive, by Jim Jarmusch; also, Sorrentino's La grande bellezza, and I recommend Wim Wenders' documentary on Yohji Yamamoto, but that's a very old film.

Ieva Epnere, Latvian artist

Book: I'm pleased about the recent publishing of Peter Burke's Cultural Hybridity in Latvian. Movie: Definitely one of the year's best films is Jem Cohen's Museum Hours – it's excellent!

Dmitry Bulatov, curator of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Baltic Branch of NCCA)

Movie: The film "The Act of Killing" by Joshua Oppenheimer left a very big impression on me. Films of that kind are a classical example of a work of art, which, by their very appearance introduce a prohibition on the existent cinematographic possibilities. Formally this film was shot on the borderline with documentary and non-fiction genres. It is dedicated to mass executions of communists (but in fact, residents of poor areas, intellectuals, members of trade unions) that took place in Indonesia in 1965 on the orders of the government led by General Sukharto. Estimates differ, but over the course of a few months, 1-2.5 million people were killed. So the director sought out two of the executioners who had taken part in that bloodbath and they, acting on their endless love for Hollywood, decided to participate in making a "real" film about how they used to kill people. The result is a strange mix of documentary, small-budget reconstruction with amateur actors and macabre scenes of nightmares that continue to plague the murderers (and which were also included in the narrative). I am inclined to regard this film as a milestone in the development of cinematography. Oppenheimer has now presented us with a situation where documentary cinema can no longer exist as we know it today.

Dmitry Khenkin, co-owner of gallery Тriumph (Russia)

Book:  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Movie: American remake of Old Boy.