10 / 10 / - 24 / 11 / 2000
Exhibition / Presentation
TransactionFilm List + Synopsis Session
Nomeda und Gediminas Urbonas (LT)
Discussion on Films
RAILLWAY STATION FOR TWO/ 1982/ Mosfilm
script by E.Braginskij,E.Riazanov, directed by E.Riazanov
Platon Riabinin, a Moscow pianist, is meeting the love of his life during adifficult period. He has blamed himself for his wife's auto accident, and will go to jail. On a farewell visit to see his father he gets stuck in a provincial railway station where he meets the waitress Vera. The way that these two break through the countless barriers and mismatches of their backgrounds and characters becomes an encyclopedia of human relations for a whole generation in the Soviet Union during the 80s.
The character of the waitress was played by the outstanding Russian actress Liudmila Gurchenko, and she created an image of women able to achieve anything. Her roughness and vulgarity were the tools protecting her from the reality she had to cope with. The same time, she remained insightful and sensitive in comparison with her surroundings. She became a symbol of committed women and revolt, which was lacking in Lithuanian cinema
MYLIMA MECHANIKO GAVRILOVO MOTERIS / Mosfilm
script S.Bodrov, Direction P.Todorovskij
Date of production 1981 / color
The story begins in the morning at the justice of the peace, where mechanic Gavrilov has not arrived for his own wedding. His bride Rita is waiting for him the whole day, full of frustration, moving between loosing faith and hoping again. Absolutely lost and tired the next morning, she receives a call from her daughter saying that Gavrilov is found, and he loves her, and the police had caught him. The character Rita was played by Liudmila Gurchenko, as a woman of eternal passion and faith. Whereas Gavrilov is always getting into trouble due to his permanent wish to save the world. He always has an alibi for the duties he is serving for a human ideal, even when often forgetting people around him, including Rita, who is passionately waiting. Liudmila Gurchenko was awarded with Golden Eagle for Best Female Character at the first International Cinema festival in Manila, Philippines 1982.
MARYTE/ 1947 / Mosfilm
script by F.Knore, directed by V.Strojeva feature film about female partisan hero Maryte Melnikaite at WWII
This dramatic story is about a Lithuanian girl developing into a mature woman, whose life is devoted to protecting the country from German fascism. She joins the Soviet Partisans on her 16th birthday, and soon becomes a squad leader. Injured after a battle, she is imprisoned by the Gestapo and tortured.
After never revealing any secrets she is murdered, but her life story, from being an active Young Pioneer at school till death, becomes a legend and sets the example for many girls and boys. The whole film is assembled by the Soviet propaganda apparatus, as an ideological export for Lithuania, who were at that time still fighting against the Russian regular army after WWII. Despite the rare character of a woman being the sole hero in a film, Maryte was detached from her personality and body, in whole belonging as a tool to the system. As the film and Maryte's character is in the service of Soviet ideology it formed a paradox - women considered political engagement as having possible bad connotations, and this from one of the only films to actually show the possible role of heroine for women.
Script J.Mackonis-Mackevicius / Direction V.Bratkauskas, V.Dabainskas
Date of production 1959
This biographical film portrays the dramatic life of revolutionary poet Julius Janonis, who devoted all his life to the fight for proletariat revolution. The character is portrayed with a very unpractical nature, thus requiring the assistance of a woman. His mother is an excellent example of a concerned mother always ready to share the worries. The same can be seen in the character of Janonis beloved girlfriend, who tries to comfort him after heavy theoretical debates on Marxist and Leninist point of views. With the terrible macho chauvinism typical for the post-serfdom Lithuania, women pictured in the film are suffering life in silence, as a good Christian. It becomes even more apparent in the film when hearing the poet reading verses devoted to the motherland.
VIENOS DIENOS KRONIKA / THE CHRONICLE OF ONE DAY
Script & Direction V.alakevicius
Date of production 1963 / LKS/ Running Time 86 min.
This drama describes one work day of the old Communist Rimsa. One morning he finds out about the death of his friend, the Academic Muratov. While in an airplane en route for Leningrad, he meets a young man Venskus. He is a student of the late Muratov, who out of his cowardice didn't manage to defend his teacher. Rimsa goes on to condemn Venskus. In the background of a moral codex of communism is a private story told through the complexity of an affair between the wife of the Institute Director and a young engineer - Venskus. The sensitive inner world of a female character is conveyed as an obstacle and a world of confusion to the committed and organized world of the male. In this setting, the only role given women characters fill episodic intervals: they come forth when men are busy queuing for the bread, waiting in the airport, waiting for the decision or another flashback of Muratov. If women suddenly express the desire to be noticed or embraced, they become "bad" and risk being damned for their feelings and actions. In a background of class war and proletariat fighting for a bread and ideas of progress she is visually presented as borgeous and obviously becomes a negative character.
PASKUTINE ATOSTOGU DIENA / THE LAST DAY OFVACATIONS
Script J.Nagibinas, A.Cercenka / Direction Arunas ebriunas
Date of production 1964 / Running Time 68 min.
This poetic drama portrays a world of feelings belonging to a young girl, Vika. The vast sense of friendship is bound by good and evil sides of her life. As a daydreamer who enjoys solitude, she used to go to the seaside rocks and listen to echo, reverberating in a different tone from various spots. It seemed as though the echo communicated with the girl. When she found a friend - a boy named Romas, Vika entrusted him with all of her secrets, showed him the special places and taught him how to speak with the echo. However, Romas appeared to be a coward - when some boys mocked Vika,he didn't stand up for her. The scenario projected is of an innocent girl with a spotted dress, who will never grow up, never mature, will always remain sexless, and will always have to be chaperoned, and of the endless immaturity of women.
NIEKAS NENOREJO MIRTI NOBODY WANTED TO DIE
Script & Direction Vytautas alakevicius / Date of production 1966
Running Time 97 min / B/W
This drama takes place in a Lithuanian village after the Germans withdraw and the Soviets take power. This is one of the most painful periods of Lithuania'shistory - the period of brothers from the forest - guerrilla resistance against the Soviet regime. The guerrillas shoot the Communist-appointed Kolkhoz [collective farm] chairman. His four sons, all arduous followers of Soviet ideology, set out for revenge. The new Kolkhoz chairman Donatas is a former Lithuanian guerrilla, now a Communist collaborator. Donatas is seen as a traitor and as a tragic character, as he chooses to escape from the fratricidal hell with his beloved Aldona - wife of the Guerrilla Chief Aitvaras. Women, although they appear for brief moments and seemingly have little to do with men's "politics", play a significant mediating role between the two fighting sides. Their wish for love, safety and comfort contrasts with the ugly reality of deaths and betrayals. One farmer, when asked what is he allied with - Lithuanians or Soviets, replies: "I am allied with my wife, this is the best kind of politics".
Aldona's remarkable character has provided a template for many other scripts in Lithuanian movies. She doesn't care about the class war and vents her feelings openly, which confronts the patriarchal rules of the village. Communists neither "brothers from the forest" do not accept her. In this scenario, her life doesn't offer a positive perspective and the end is tragic. The film was awarded the First Prize in Vilnius and the all-Union Film Festival in Kiev, 1996; in the popular magazine "Sovietsky Ekran" filmgoers chose it as the best Soviet film in 1996. At the IFF in Karlovy Vary 1996 Donatas Banionis was awarded the prize of Best Actor.
LAIPTAI I DANGU / STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Script Mykolas Sluckis, R. Vabalas / Direction R. Vabalas
Date of production 1966/ Running Time min 98 min.
This drama tells the hard and painful country life story set in post-warLithuania. In the rural areas, the Soviets were getting entrenched infierce fighting with whom they termed "bourgeois nationalists", which the Lithuanians termed "forest brothers" [guerrillas]. The action focuses on the fate of the Indriunai family, people whose psyche was formed by century's serfdom relations. The family is divided on both sides of the barricades. The husband of the elder daughter, an ex-Lithuanian officer, is a fierce enemy of the Soviets. The younger daughter Ramune is a student, her boyfriend is a member of "komsomol Jaunius" [Communist Youth Movement].
The images of women in this film form sharp and clear characters: there is a caring mother, who humbly accepts the politics of men; Ramune is a mutinous young daughter who wants to break away from the constrictions of her own patriarchal family, although she is too emotional to make a strict commitment; her elderly sister is a pragmatic seducer ready to flirt with communists and guerrillas. Father Indriunas does not trust the Soviet regime but he is not taking sides with the Guerillas. To keep his son Jurgis from joining the Partisans, Indriunas hides him in the woods. Unable to bear the loneliness, Jurgis commits suicide.
SUAUGUSIU MONIU AIDIMAI / GAMES THAT GROWN-UPS PLAY
Script A. Pocius , I. Rudas, R. Kasauskas, A. Kundelis, P. Jackevicius / Direction I. Rudas , A. Kundelis in c/o Marijonas Giedrys
Date of production 1968 / Running Time min
There are two stories or "games" told in the film. First Game: A woman called Laima decides to leave her drunkard husband and goes away with a young priest Vaisieta. After some time, the husband Ramonas finds her and decides to have a word with the priest. The discussion ends with drinking, and upon returning home Laima finds the two peacefully asleep next to each other. She leaves them both.
Second Game: A happy go lucky long distance truck driver Bronius, never thinks about his future, only partying, girls and songs on his mind. He cannot find time to visit his sick father, or to care about Zita, a woman whom he has abandoned. Years pass, and in the end he meets Zita and his little son, and the sad news of his fathers death which changes his point of view. Bronius then decides to find his place in life.
JAUSMAI / FEELING
Script Vytautas alakevicius / Direction Algirdas Dausa, Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1968 / Running Time 90 min / B/W
This drama became one of the best Lithuanian films of all time. It depicts the very last days of WWII. The German army is moving out of the country, the Soviets are moving in, proclaiming the new power by force. The emotional drama of a fisherman Kasparas forms the subject. Themes of love, duty, and complex internal experiences are unfolded in the setting of the first post war years. The story of intimate relations is an epic about the time and its effect on people. All the women characters are detached and negative. Instead of understanding the wider postwar situation seriously, they are portrayed as just ready for seduction, one memorable scene frames this in direct relation to the breeding of farm animals. The characters do not share the postwar ideological fates which burdened their father, brothers or husbands, and are only ready to betray following their basic
instincts. The film was awarded the Grand Prize at the Auter Film Festival in San Remo, 1978
GRAUOLE / THE BEAUTY
Script Direction Arunas ebriunas / Date of production 1969
Running Time 69 min
This drama is one of the few where the main character is a young girl. Inga is always playing and dancing with her playground friends. She has helped a new boy to join her group. He later betrays her friendship, by telling her he thinks she is ugly. She is hurt, unable tocome to terms with the betrayl, and yet the boy's words make her angry. Inga later starts to understand which things are really important - what is the real beauty, and where are the more profound meanings. A small ugly duck turns into a graceful swan, continuing to dance. This innocent, immature female character coming of age, conveys the perfect example of what is the only place for a girls in man's world, and to survive in it is to be a girl with a spotted dress [ a sign of innocence in Lithuanian cinema] At the time when the film was madeThe Beauty stood out for its poetic stylistics, peculiar dramatic approach as well as the harmony of visual views and their meaning.
Script Grigorijus Kanovicius, Vytautas Zalakevicius / Direction Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1970
This drama is about the backlash of two generations, the people who survived the War and Occupation, the horror of Fascist concentration camps, who understood the danger of losing touch with human values, and those people who grew up two or three decades later and have only a theoretical knowledge of the things experienced by parents.
The film tells three stories. The first consists of the memories that two friends recall from their stay in German concentration camp. The second story line tells of a young woman scriptwriter Veronika who tries to understand the sources of bravery once shown by her father. The third story line concentrates on presenting the relation between the two generations.
In the second story line, Veronika is writing a screenplay and trying to establish her relation with the past and her father. She is the intellectual engine of the film itself and mediator between the men of different ages. However, since her character lacks emotion and courage she cannot succeed. She is just a spokesperson for the director-character and his ideas, not an articulated and committed woman. The only possible role offered here for women is to sacrifice their life for ideals, which apparently most of a time are constituted by men. Ave Vita represented the intellectual cinema of the time.
VYRU VASARA / MEN'S SUMMER
Script Aleksandras Jurovskis / Direction Marijonas Giedrys
Date of production 1970 / Running Time 90 min / B/W
This historical detective story portrays a dramatic life situation inpost-war Lithuania. After the Soviets occupied Lithuania, many young men took up arms and went to the woods ["forest brothers"] to resist. The Soviets liquidated the resistance in ten years. The film tells a story about one KGB agent who was able to penetrate into one group of resistance
fighters, and destroy them. The 1970 censors strictly disapproved of using the following terms: "resistance to the Soviets", "resistance fighters", and "the occupation of Lithuania". In order that the film could have any chance to be screened, it was necessary to follow the authority and ideological criteria set in that time period. Nevertheless, the film offered a profound drama of postwar Lithuania, and as is reflected in the title, apparently for the women there was no place.
BIRELIS VASAROS PRADIA / JUNE, THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER
Script I.Meras / Direction R. Vabalas
Date of production 1970
This drama tells about the people and life of a provincial Lithuanian village in the 60s. It begins with the daily routines and two main events - they are preparing for the school graduation party of their children, and waiting for the theatre performances to arrive into town. As well, the town is supposedly waiting for changes related to the arrival of new industry. But in fact the message is the inevitable changes in moral norms. The personal life here cannot be distinguished from work. Women are oscillating on a moment of possibly threatening transformations. They wish to support the idealistic working men want to change the landscape of a boring province by building a huge factory and embracing the Soviet utopia, but they are also concerned about retaining the identity of a more organic, family related, settled world connected to the land. The key phrase of the movie "nothing will change" becomes a declaration of women's destiny in postwar Lithuania. The Film raised important issues of the psychological and economic worth of the progress. It is a small budget film that did not receive much attention in the general panorama of Soviet cinematography.
TAS PRAKEIKTAS NUOLANKUMAS / THAT CURSED HUMBLENESS
Script V.ilinskaite/ Direction A.Dausa
Date of production 1971
The film tells of the event in the Lithuanian village at the end of the 19th century. The destinies of three characters are analyzed: of a young peasant Mykoliukas, woman Severija whom Mykoliukas is in love with and Geise, the caretaker of the manor. Geise gains Severija's affection by force and marries her. She becomes a humble wife. As serfdom is abolished, Geise loses his job, and must move to his brother's place where the brother's wife poisons him. The life relegated Geise and his pathetic death is characteristic of the social conditions of the time. As the greatest amount of attention is given to the issues of social equality, patriarchal family and serfdom, the image of a woman does not receive a thorough treatment. On the contrary, the literary original presented the psychological motivation of the woman, while this screen version rendered her character into black and white - a Lithuanian cinematographic silence - to be re-heard in the episodes of roaring life slipping through the fingers that stem from the director, and his sense of misogynist parody.
AKMUO ANT AKMENS / STONE ON STONE
script by P.Jackevicius, R.Vabalas / directed by R.Vabalas
Date of production 1971 / LKS
This film tells two stories set in the same place but in two different times - the beginning and the end of the 19th century. Throughout this period, serfdom remains. The first story tells of the soldier Butkus who returns to his native village from the Tzarist army after 25 years. A young and ruthless count appoints him as an enforcer. The second story is about the manager of an estate. Both characters find themselves confronted with the inevitability of choice. The film shows how humility grows into rock solid resistance, and the tragic fates and inner nobility of the people who dared oppose the serfdom and social injustice, all set within the rising protest of Lithuanian peasants. The key frame in the film portrays the punishment of a serf woman. The equivalence is established of woman to serfdom, within a scene clearly understood as a public humiliation. While this set up is characteristic forthe opinions of the cinematic »poque, it is contrasted by the actress's appearance and stoic bearing throughout the movie, that suggests anunderlying belief exists of a potential better time in the upcoming twentieth century.
HERKUS MANTAS / HERKUS MANTAS
Script Saulius altenis / Direction Marijonas Giedrys
Date of production 1972 / Running Time 148 min / B/W
This is the first Lithuanian period film, the subject is the 13th century Prussian revolt against the Teutonic. One of the most heroic and tragic periods of Lithuanian history is told through the prism of the powerful personality of Herkus Mantas, the Prussian rebel leader, which is credibly created in the background of the morbid events of the distant past. The film is dedicated to the Prussians, the nation which lived near the Baltic sea between the rivers of Vysla and Nemunas, and which was ethnically close to Lithuanians - the nation that was enslaved by the Teutonic Order. The revolt stopped the expansion of the crusaders to the east for some time, but in the process, Prussia was defeated and surrendered its land and name to the conquerors. Herkus Mantas was far ahead of his time, turning his back on Christianity but also refusing Heathenism. Being both atheist and humanist was hardly compatible with the image of a warrior and a leader. The character of his wife is established as a figure standing behind Mantas's contradictory personality, and ready to share her husband's fate. This more secondary role, a woman character as a supporting wife, neither heroine nor innocent young girl, is one that becomes dominant and programmatic for the cinematic epoch.
TIES RIBA / AT THE LIMIT
Script Grigorijus Kanovicius, Saulius Saltenis / Direction R.Vabalas
Date of production 1973
The drama takes place in Lithuania during the early 70s. Andrius Sukys, the investigator, arrives to a small seaside town to work on a big case of theft from the slaughterhouse. He finds out about another crime of murder after the perpetrators unwittingly disclose themselves. It turns out that one of the participants of this dramatic event is an old man Evaldas at whose place Andrius is staying. Evaldas confesses his crime and decides to commit suicide. As is typical for Lithuanian cinema, there is also a side scenario developing between the man and a woman, in the form of a blond seductress who entertains him during the course of his research. Each scenario is set within a different mise en scene, but in the same city. The mood of the investigation is dark, worn out, sad, featurless. The relationship is set within an open, optimistic background of newly built highways with the choreographed Ladas.
VELNIO NUOTAKA / THE DEVIL'S BRIDE
Script & Direction Arunas ebriunas
Date of production 1974 Running Time 78 min / Colour
A musical about the victory of love over the trickery of the Devil. A little devil Pinciukas is expelled from Hell and arrives to Baltaragis mill. In exchange for the mill owner's soul and the promise to have his daughter Jurga as a bride he helps the man with his work. When Jurga grows up, Pinciukas reminds Baltaragis of his promise. But Jurga falls in love with the young Girdvainis who also wishes to marry her. To prevent the groom from arriving to the mill Pinciukas sets up various schemes, all of which finally fail. The musical concerns the eternal struggle of evil and goodness, the triumph of the positive principles of life and love. Although the success of Jurga, the 'blond beauty' is a guarantee of a happy ending is an obvious consequence of the first entertaining film in Lithuanian cinema, there lingers underneath a traditional pattern, that of the daughter's arranged marriage to further the family success.
PERSKELTAS DANGUS / SHATTERED SKIES
Script R.Gudaitis, Marijonas Giedrys / Direction Marijonas Giedrys
Date of production 1975 / Running Time min
The drama concerns one family, and a deep social-psychological process set in this period of new Soviet new town planning, that portrays its industrial ideology encroaching upon the family in their Lithuanian village. After a long absence Steponas Kreivenas, a travelling building contracter, returns to his parent's home. His return only speeds up the disintegration of the patriarchal family. Steponas, his brothers and a sister do not want to accept their father's kind of life. Steponas, an example of a new culture of mobility, and does not understand his parents, their focus on family, and their farm, as a narrow interest. Equally alien for Steponas is the mercantile passion for property accumulation that possesses his brother Vacis, living in the town. In this story is presented two woman characters linked through Steponas's story. Their roles as sister and wife, represent for women no possibility to decide alone on a direction in life. His wife, Polina accompanies him silently, in spite of the hardships she has to sustain. Sister Sarune is dreaming of the big city life. She must decide between the security of a middle class bourgeois life in a town as a pattern she inherited through her family, and the overwhelming sense of uncertainty that comes by challenging this. Her inability to decide leaves her full of doubts and frustrations throughout the film, without any resolution or step towards commitment.
VIRTO AZUOLAI / THE FALL OF OAK TREES
Script Virginijus Cepaitis, Gytis Luksas / Direction Gytis Luksas
Date of production 1976 / Running Time min
The drama portrays the fate of a hired female worker Kazyte, who has been laboring on a remote farm. All three sons of her employer were interested in her, but she preferred the worker Klemensas. When the employer died, her will ordered Kazyte to marry the youngest son Antanelis. From this day a new life began. Slowly but surely Kazyte took control of the farm. The elder brothers appeared as a hindrance, so one after the other, they are disposed of. When only Antanelis, who has blindly followed her, is left to deal with, her scheme is made evident when she arranges that he should sign a will leaving all the property to her. Once Antanelis is removed, Kazyte is free to finally marry her old love Klemensas. However, when her lover finds what price has been paid for the future happiness, he refuses. One of Lithuanian cinema's most misogynist scripts, the role of the woman character as 'dangerous seducer' is introduced. She must be punished for transgressing the borders of her 'destiny'. The film's title, refers to the 'oak' as to the 'man'. The female character from the lower class, though rightfully challenging the class structure, and striving for the worker she loves, is only motivated by singular, personal love, and thus how her path
and how she fells the 'oaks', the men, is against 'natural law'.
SADUTO TUTO / SADUTO TUTO
Script Vytautas alakevicius / Direction Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1975 / Running Time
The drama conveys a vexed relationship between artist and society, by focusing on two friends, the artists Petras and Povilas. The plot develops the subjects of family life (Povilas and his wife), love (Petras and his girlfriend Ula), life and death, justice and betrayal. The script focuses on the men, the two artists and confronts them with creative and moral problems. The two women of this film remain 'outside' of the men's world and discourse. Ula is a mature, engaged woman. She is seen sunbathing in a boat, only identified by her attractive figure, sharp remarks, sarcastic smile, and feigned laughter. There is a sense of artificiality to her character, and she treats art as her personal enemy. The wife of Povilas belongs to character of the 'sexy blonde', who probably was meant to embody a 'spontaneous child of nature', but her character is not devoted much attention. All her charm fades as she learns of her pregnancy near the end of the film, she shows her loss of interest in life itself.
MAINAI / EXCHANGE
Script Direction R.Vabalas
Date of production 1977 / Running Time 89 min.
In this urban drama set in contemporary Lithuania. After his mother's death, Vytas Morkus is going to change from his flat to his mother's, to accommodate his family. His wife, Lina sees in the death, an opportunity to profit with more space. But the move contrasts the difference between his sensibility, intellectual and idealist, and his wife more consumer one. While waiting in a bus station, Vytas meets another woman, Stase. Her seduction leads him to make a small journey, 'just to nowhere'. The two women are set in contrast, the mercantile, profit oriented brunette Lina, and the idealistic, playful blonde Stase. But in the overall story, both set him apart from his family - Lina to his parents, Stase to his wife and children. He loses his health and although he carries on, he is physically and morally crushed.
SODYBU TUTEJIMO METAS / PERIOD OF A VACANT FARMS / 2serijos
Script Romualdas Granauskas / Direction Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1977 / Running Time min
The drama takes place between1940- 45. The characters find themselves trapped in critical situations where the problem of choice is inevitable due to social or historical conditions. Adomas Vainoras becomes a Fascist collaborater. Marius Nemunis, Petras Putrimas collaborate with the Soviets and fight the Fascists. The history teacher Gediminas claims neutrality in the war. Having experienced the horrors of war he finds that his life philosophy is inadequate and aligns with the Communists. He is sure Lithuania will gain independence under the Communist regime. This film portrays the burden of decisions as belonging to the natural domain of male characters. Women characters stand firmly on the ground but as they have no capacity to imagine the future, are immediately negative when starting to plan. What remains is for them to please the men tired from their planning. One of the key women characters, the beauty Milda, shows through her affairs women's the devastating result of her inabilty to make an important life decision, and she is left frustrated and lost, moving between aligning with the Germans and Lithuanians, Communists and Fascists.
RIEUTU DUONA / NUT BREAD
Script Saulius altenis / Direction Arunas ebriunas
Date of production 1978 / Running Time 70 min.
This buoyant lyrical story about a man's recollection of his village youth, to bid farewell to the childhood, leave the village and enter the real life. The boy Andrius and the girl Liuka have fallen in love already back in childhood as village neighbors. When their parents had a large quarrel over some trifle they were separated - like Romeo and Juliet. Liuka and her parents soon left the town, Andrius remained alone with his memories. Later, in the post war years, it is the smell of the nutbread slice he had received from his beloved, that reminds him of the ground, childhood and Liuka. The story reflects on his first love, first contacts with life and the people that play a role in his maturity with a mixture of comedy, farce, lyrical moments and serious ideas. The film portrays the first love as leaving a unique impression in a fragile childhood, and the first notion of feelings sprout and rise and leave an unforgettable taste like - as the title states - the special occasion cake - nut bread.
MANO VAIKYSTES RUDUO / THE AUTUMN OF MY CHILDHOOD
Script Jonas Aputis/ Direction Gytis Lukas
Date of production 1979 /Running Time min
This poetic drama is set in a Lithuanian village during the 70s. The main character Benas is a young man, full of hope, hurrying to grow up and to find out what life has in stock for him. He is very positive and human, ready to help to everyone in village. He travels to a town in his carriage to pick up two land surveyors, both women, and bring them back to his village. When a rainstorm occurs, they find shelter under a tree. Benas is kissed by the one called Vilija and falls in love, although his feelings have not matured. The film portrays a contrast between his shyness, niceness and silence, and the girls as but little seducers. Benas is left alone in his memories of a first kiss. The film judges this solitude as proof of his moral fiber against that of the girls from the town.
VELNIO SEKLA / THE DEVILS SEED
Script Vytautas alakevicius / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1979 / Running Time 68 min / Color
The drama is set in a Lithuanian village in the beginning of the 20th century. Jonis, the bastard son of an unmarried girl, has always been a hireling who has suffered nothing but mockeries and deprecations. Since five years, he has served the stable owner Banys but still not received any payment. As the Russian- Japanese War breaks out Banys surrenders his servant in exchange for permission to keep the ownership of his horses. Jonis goes to war, survives it and returns to inherit Banys's property by marrying his late master's older wife. Although he believes this achieves what he wants, Jonis cannot enjoy life. His whole existence is embittered and he holds a grudge against an inhospitable world. The mock-name given him as a boy - devil's seed - seems to be an inveterate curse. He is married to the woman he does not love, and the woman he does love bears him another child, thus repeating the cycle with a 'bastard'. The theme implies a cursed reproduction, relating to both the women characters, who are driven insane because of it. Banys wife, old enough to be his mother, desires that she can become pregnant as it is necessary that they are legitimized in a village community. His actual lover delivers him an illegitimate child, and as she is too poor to support it, gives it over to the older wife, and thus becomes a victim of social relationships dividing community into class. The film received the First Prize in the Soviet Union film festival in Dushanbe 1980.
ARKLIAVAGIO DUKTE / THE HORSE-THIEF'S DAUGHTER
Script Petras Dirgela, Rimantas avelis / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1981 / Running Time 81 min / Color
This drama tells of the fall of the Peciuros, a patriarchal peasant family, from a Lithuanian village in the beginning of the 20th century. The director has succeeded to create a persuasive picture of every day life, habits and ways of the people of that time, while giving a main role to a liberated woman character. Unfortunately her emancipation is limited within the role of a debauchee: The Peciuros wife seduces a young laborer after her husband is recruited to the army. She gets pregnant, and the story unfolds from this act, and ends with her husband's return from the war. Benightedness, cruelty, and the code of patriarchal moral norms, social struggle for the right to be called master - all of it leads the Peciuros family to its tragic demise. The film was awarded the First Prize at the Soviet Union Festival in Tallinn in 1982 for the best screenplay adaption of literature.
KELONE I ROJU / JOURNEY TO PARADISE
Script Saulius Saltenis / Direction Arunas Zebriunas
Date of production 1981/ Running Time min
This drama was created using motives from H. Zunderman's short story Kelione i Tilze (The trip to Tilsit). This is the fifth screen version attempt, the most famous version produced in pre-war Germany. A poor fisherman Ansas, his wife and two children live in the village. Their happiness is destroyed on the arrival of Marta Anker, a rich widow from Tilsit. Marta does everything to conquer the fisherman's heart. Befuddled by Marta's seduction, Ansas is about to kill his wife Indre on a trip to Tilsit, but instead it brings them together again. However, Ansas cannot resolve his feelings and commits suicide. The film introduces a character of the cinematic epoch, that suggests in the 'seducer', the energetic, rich character, Marta and the humble passivity of the 'good' Indre, a Catholic overtone to the notion that the human passions should simply be repressed, contained.
FAKTAS / THE FACT
Script Vytautas alakevicius / Direction Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1981 / Running Time min
This historical drama is an accusation concerning Fascism, that quite precisely recreates one of the most tragic episodes of W.W.II. OnJuly 3rd 1944 Fascists burned alive 119 Pirciupiai village residents - old men, women and children. The film tells the story of this tragedy in an unusual form and style. There is no traditional intrigue, no characters. It consists of real survivor's testimonies and interrogations of Fascist criminals. Their stories mingle with images of today's village. We are confronted with the images of the condemned criminals last hours, overnarrated with the contemporary testimonies. The filmmaker emphasizes the evil fascism has brought to mankind. In the methodology, the men are established as the actors in dramatic events, contrasted to a peaceful, regular life of the remote village, which is equated with woman, as an environment pictured through women's everyday, baking bread, cleaning, ironing, caring of the garden, working in the fields. The actress Solovej received an award in Cannes, 1982, for the best supporting actress.
ATSIPRAAU / I'M SORRY
Script & Direction Vytautas alakevicius
Date of production 1982 / Running Time 96 min / Colour
The drama takes place in a contemporary Lithuanian village. The character Pranas returns to home after a period of absence, to fulfill his moral obligations for his mother and father and to decide on his future. The mood in the film is based on the fragments of character's interactions with various scenarios. It seems that nothing is going on, yet we are constantly reminded of the themes of loneliness, freedom, love and tolerance. Neither director nor characters are involved in solving philosophical questions of life, but they register these problems in a subtle way. The women characters only frame the world that - according to the director's statements - "belongs to men." Although there is the character of Ozelyte, who wins our affection by her sincerity and na‘vet», she remains an outsider as the only way to survive in this director's 'world'.
VASARA BAIGIASI RUDENI
Script Romualdas Granauskas / Direction Gytis Luksas
Date of production 1982 / Running Time min
A psychological drama set in a contemporary Lithuanian village. Guy Vilius grew up without his father who had to serve a jail sentence for a car accident. After being released the father did not return home directly and appeared only after his wife's death. The son and the father start working the land, which is situated far from home. They rent a room from the widow Milda. Three lonely people are living under the same roof, and every one of them longs for human warmth. The father suffers because of his feelings for Milda, but he understands he must not stand in the way of his son's happiness. A sad and melancholic film, the main theme is the conflict between times, such as the father who has lost time in prison and his son, who is only about to get on with life. The conflict is aggravated by the appearance of a young beautiful widow, whose world has grown flat with distrust and uncertainty. She never appears to take part in the decision process involving her own personal relations, and future. Even as the detached farm she owns is always in threat by the plans of the State Irrigation Company, her response is to look out the window and recall the security of the past.
JO MONOS IPAINTIS
Script Vytautas alakevicius / Direction Almantas Grikevicius
Date of production 1984
In this contemporary urban drama, the main character Irena feels that at forty-two years old, she should stop and add up the achievements so far. She has not lived the life she had wanted to live. Irena never worked in her field; her love for her husband, the surgeon Jonas, has waned, and their daughter is turning thirteen. It seems that Irena could be saved by her love to a talented scientist Ricardas. She is ready to abandon her family but it turns out that he is just a mean egoist. Accidentally during a picnic by a lake she understands that she has fallen in love with a cynical, indifferent person, and that she is becoming indifferent herself.
MANO MAYTE MONA / MY LITTLE WIFE
Script Rimantas avelis / Direction Raimundas Banionis
Date of production 1984 / Running Time 79 min / Color
This contemporary urban drama tells of a love story, of a girl with a very strong character who fights against the social prejudices, and a young man who wins her heart, and their wedding. She believes in this relationship, and the changes in her life that occur. The film is about formation of the young woman as a person, about the place of the young man in her life, another take on a classical love story about a girl from a poor family meeting a boy from a rich one. Perhaps one unique aspect of the film is that it can be observed how a class system has been formed in a country which was fighting against it for more then half of century, and within that, how women apparently have their place defined.
AMINOJI VIESA / ETERNAL LIGHT
Script Rimantas avelis / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1987 / Running Time 89 min / Colour
This drama takes place in a Lithuanian village during the 50's, where the impact of Sovietization is epitomized by the symbolic transition from horse to tractor. Anicetas, the horse breeder is in love with Amile, girl who had a traumatic childhood, whose own grandmother advises the young man to stay away from her. He refuses to listen, goes on courting and finally marries Amile. The tractor mechanic Zigmas experiences the pain of loss, as he has been left by his wife. Amile and Zigmas are attracted to each other; there is some mutual understanding, need of mutual care, and an implicit sexual adequacy in a new relationship. Amile leaves Anicetas and the authors draw a parallel between this painful change to the changes taking place in Sovietization. The horses and old farming techniques are being antiquated as even the government orders to slaughter the animals for meat. "The tractor", says one haughty Russian character, "is in the new line of government policy". Unable to bear the pain of losing his wife, and having his horses slaughtered, Anicetas is considering to commit murder. "Eternal light" is taken from the text of the song performed at funerals. The life in a small village of Soviet Lithuania is portrayed as "eternal darkness". Wounds that are left unhealed after the war produce new pain; people hurt each other because they are being hurt. It is not clear whether there is some hope to see the light, as one-character remarks: "If there is eternal darkness, there must be also eternal light".
OLES AKNYS / GRASS ROOTS
Script Vidmante Jasukaityte / Direction Gytis Lukas
Date of production 1988 Running Time 145 min.
The film tackles the fate of the Lithuanian woman of the 19th century, eternal themes of love and faithfulness crime and punishment, the nation's fight for liberty. The screenplay "Zoles saknys" ("Grass Roots") written by V. Jasukaityte, compiled from her two stories fuses several historical layers, the past and the present. Visions where the living and the dead meet obliterate the line of time, because, to quote one character "everything is eternal and there is neither beginning nor end".
PABUDIMAS / AWAKENING
Script & Direction Jonas Vaitkus
Date of production 1989 / Running Time 121 min.
The drama takes place in the beginning of the 40s, with the upsurge of Stalinism and Lithuania threatened by Fascism. For the two school friends Pijus and Kazys who once cherished love for the same girl, life had in store two quite contradictory paths. Pijus is made one of the KGB investigating authorities, and is to interrogate Kazys, now the leader of the Lithuanian underground resistance. According to Pijus, Kazys must reveal his secrets, and only then will Pijus allow Kazys to live and return to his wife. Otherwise the torture of investigation will fall on Kazys's young wife, who is a spoilt, fragile person and not capable of heroic actions. In this film, the individual can not be only the means of social inevitability in a state mechanism. The director implies that each character must make his moral choice but not 'all' can. In fatal choices man is always given a chance of a higher realisation - but not women.
UVIES DIENA / FISH DAY
Script Liucija Aromaite / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1989 / Running Time 84 min / Colour
This contemporary urban drama tells the story of Veronika, an emancipated modern woman-writer, who is trying to find her place in life. She has got a boring job, tiny flat with shared kitchen, with her boyfriend Tadas, whose role in her life she is trying to realize. Accidentally, Tadas reads one of Veronika's writings and recognizes himself and their story. He finds that insulting and disrespectful. However, Veronika does not, and wants to stay free by letting a man in and driving him off. She is against being a domesticated pet. Her written fantasies, in which her boyfriend can easily recognize their life are much more dear to her than their reality. Even when neither publishing house nor editorial staff believes in her talent she bears enough confidence and desire to move between her dreams and reality freely. The film is unusual in that, even though the emancipated character is 'punished' for refusing her 'real' place, and what she is expected to be, she is able to continue so.
MIKAIS ATEINA RUDUO / AUTUMN COMES IN THE WOODS
Script & Direction R.Vabalas
Date of production 1990 / Running Time 130 Min
This period drama is set in a Lithuanian village during the 30s. In this complex love story, the images of women are set up in the character composition techniques that recall those used in soap operas: one is the tricky, dark-haired seducer who lives according to notions different from those of village dwellers, who first prays for Lithuanian deities then goes for a naked swim. Another is the incarnate of a blond Lithuanian na‘vet», attends church seriously and shuns from taking part in a mischievous three - way game of love. However, the end differs from the end of shallow romances and soap operas, as the 'good' blond woman does not get her beloved back from the game, but rather, the mischievous brunette gets to see him die at the hands of her husband - suggesting the only survival strategy for women characters is in the role of the 'bad' seducer instead of the time honored patient 'victim'.
BILIETAS IKI TAD MACHALO / TICKET TO TAJ MAHAL
Script Rimantas Savelis / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1990 / Running Time 90 min / Colour
This drama is set in a Lithuanian village in 1946, at the end of the war. The country has just gone through German occupation and must now come to terms with Stalinist terror. The farmer Fabijonas starts dreaming of going to India in order to see the Taj Mahal. But the Soviet reality, which was still in its infancy, did not allow any of such fantasies, and people were punished for such exotic dreams. The reality becomes evident that the one who gets most punished for the man's fantasies is his wife. As she has based her entire life destiny to care for her husband and son, it has become endangered. One boarder of their house is a Russian officer, who brings home a dark haired Russian lover. He soon leaves her behind, and the wife empathises with her and allows her to stay on. The situation suggests the formula of a potential love triangle, as the Russian pursues the man, but he escapes as his mind is only occupied by his imagination. The Russian houseguest will turn out to become a KGB officer, and does eventually meet the husband in the reality of the KGB cells and her role as torturer.
VERIS, KYLANTIS I JUROS / THE BEAST, RISING OUT OF THE SEA
Script & Direction Vytautas alakevicius
Date of production 1992 / Running Time 102 min
This drama set in Leningrad during the 1920s, tells the story of Sofia and Trofim, a childless couple, who take in a little orphan from their neighborhood. After some time Sofia notices that something unseemly is happening between Trofim and their adolescent daughter. Within a short time they are making love shamelessly right in front of her. Sofia bears her humiliation in silence. In the autumn the waters of river Neva rise and the river floods their basement flat. Something cracks in Sofia's mind: she buys an axe and kills her errant daughter. She removes all possible clues in a premeditated manner, takes the body up into the plains and buries it. Sofia pretends that the girl has left them and Trofim reports at the police station that she is missing. The couple's live return into the old rhythms. Sofia becomes pregnant at last. In a state of post-natal shock at the hospital she divulges her secret, but Trofim takes the blame on himself for the crime. The film was awarded the Zolotoy vityaz prize at the International Film Festival in Moscow, 1992 and the Yantarny Panther at the International Film Festival in Kaliningrad, 1994.
IR JIS PASAKE JUMS SUDIE / AND HE BID YOU FAREWELL
Script & Direction A.iukta
Date of production 1993 / Running Time 90 min
A psychological drama set in contemporary Lithuania. Marius lost his memory four years ago in a car accident. He can't find his wife and children, his job or home. Placed in a sanitarium, surrounded by an unfamiliar environment and unhappy tragicomic people, he tries to escape from this alien zone. But he fails to overcome his loneliness and return to the civilized world. His companion in the sanitarium, Maria, can not comprehend what had occurred to her lover. Marius feels like he's living in a strange dream where reality is transformed into madness. In the end he learns the painful truth about his life, and decides to remain where he is now, as a shoemaker, a man without a past. The film allows the male character a fantasy that eradicates a problematic past history, whereas Maria's involvement in his search results in her living in his life, and losing her own.
VILKO DANTU KAROLIAI / A WOLF-TEETH NECKLACE
Script Algimantas Puipa, Rimantas avelis / Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1997 / Running Time 97 min
The drama is set in a Lithuanian village. A strange relict sits in the workshop of the artist Tadas. This relict, a necklace made of wolf-teeth, was given to Tadas by his father. The relict comes from Siberia, and represents the father's deportation, together with thousands of innocent people. The wolf-teeth necklace allows Tadas to recollect back to his adolescent period. At that time Tadas lived in poverty together with his mother who was blamed for being a deportee's wife. Later he was sent to the village to live together with his grandmother Ieva-Marija and his uncle Jokubas, as his mother was not able to provide enough food. He spent the brightest years of his childhood in the village. Now Tadas recalls Ieva-Marija and her fairy tales, Kastulis, who was hit by the lightening, letters written by his father from Siberia, longing for his father, his own sins, and his big betrayal which he cannot forget and forgive himself for committing it.
MENULIO LIETUVA / LOONAR LITHUANIA
Script Saulius altenis / Direction Gytis Lukas
Date of production 1997 / Running Time 100 min / Color
The drama takes place in a Lithuanian village during the post war, where some people serve Soviet occupants while others desperately try to fight for freedom, and wait for help from the West. The camera-eye of town events is the drunkard Rapolas Pulmonas, who supplies bread to the local store. He is often confronted by the KGB officer Pernaravicius and as well the Resistance Movement commander Jezus A young teacher Angele is in the center of events, she generously gives her warmth and affection to everyone. She is passionately loved by the collaborate Pernaravicius; by Jonelis Ivanovas a decrepit Russian soldier whose life she has saved during German occupation; cherished by Jezus who later dies in her embrace; and by the underage son of the school principal as well as his father who was sent to check the morality of the beautiful teacher. The characters are overtaken by different fates: some leave Lithuania, some die a drunkard's death, some are killed. But the character of Angele lives...forgives and forgets.
MOTERIS IR KETURI JOS VYRAI / A WOMAN AND HER FOUR MEN
Script & Direction Algimantas Puipa
Date of production 1994 / Running Time min
The drama is set in a Lithuanian village in the beginning of the 20th century. A woman marries into a family of three men - her husband lives together with his father and younger brother. The husband borrows a large sum of money and disappears, bringing on himself suspicion. The father goes to prison since the loan was made in his name. The woman stays with her son and the younger brother of her husband. "You are going to live in sin anyway, living under the same roof, you had better marry" - such is the request of the father. She complies. But everyone has to pay a price - she still misses her gone husband, blames herself for sharing the bed with his brother, and the brother cannot shake off the feeling of inferiority, even when his brother is gone. In the end the husband 'returns' to her, honor is restored, and some new balance is found that seems familiar to the old one. The film from the end of the 20th century suggests morals and judgements concerning the role of women, from much earlier time period