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A Trip Across Misty Meadows

Documentary Film
Lithuania
1973
11 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lithuanian Film Studio
Henrikas Šablevičius
Romualdas Fedaravičius
Kornelijus Matuzevičius
Regina Lazdauskienė
Vidmantas Puplauskis, Henrikas Šablevičius
A farewell to a slow, narrow-gauge train that recalls the idyllic times of independent Lithuania. The story was originally to be told through silent images only, but following preview screenings the filmmaker was instructed to add a voiceover. The criticism that “the film’s central hero cannot be a railway” led to the addition of a “human character” – the train’s overseer Povilas. Despite this, Šablevičius’s film remains a shining example of the Lithuanian poetic documentary thanks to its unique cinematic language and visual allegories conveying a deep connection to the past, something that the architects of the “new life” struggled to erase.
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things) Aistė Žegulytė

For animals killed in a hunt death is the start of an existence as objects. Mounted to look lifelike they are being exhibited – and looking at you.

Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2018
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giedrė Burokaitė
Aistė Žegulytė
Gediminas Jakubka
Vytautas Katkus
Mikas Žukauskas
Aistė Žegulytė, Titas Laucius
The trees are covered in thick snow. A peaceful group of hunters tramp through the forest. At night they celebrate their kill. A group of men sworn to their own ethics of the dignity of all creatures. It’s only in the death of the opposite they aimed at that they find respect for the existence of the killed game, for which this violent end of life is the beginning of an existence as an object. Mounted and worked on with extreme skill until they once more resemble the vibrant “before”, the carcasses are processed and made suitable for the human eye and its desire to feast on things. Former but never quite gone deer, muskrats and birds look at you.

The line between the life and death of these animals seems to get blurred in the course of the film, only to be drawn even more strongly. The adoration of the wilderness of tamed nature in rituals of presentation made for humans clearly follows different logics than the comfortable and presentable one of keeping pets. Dead eyes do not look back.

Fabian Tietke


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Autumn Snow

Documentary Film
Lithuania
1992
18 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dalia Cibauskaitė
Valdas Navasaitis
Valdas Naudžius, Arko Okk
Vida Buckutė
Valdas Navasaitis
Vidimantas Kazlauskas
The first snow of autumn and the last minutes of an earthling coincide. A poetic-impressionist study on fall, nature, and life. The end comes like winter itself: organic, cyclical – and sublime.
Best of MDR 2014
Biblioteka – Von Büchern, einsamen Frauen und einem Leser Ana Tsimintia

They gossip, scream, hammer away on a piano, eat, drink, and bang doors. And there are more librarians than readers in this small Georgian library.

Biblioteka – Von Büchern, einsamen Frauen und einem Leser

Documentary Film
Georgia,
Lithuania
2014
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mikheil Svanidze, Bernardas Andriushis, Ana Tsimintia
Ana Tsimintia
Nika Pasuri
Ana Tsimintia
Ana Tsimintia, Bernardas Andriushis
Ana Tsimintia
Sigitas Motoras
Dr. Claudia Schreiner
There must be more fulfilling jobs than being a librarian in the municipal library of Zugdidi in Georgia. Actually, from what “Biblioteka” shows one would not even assume that these women are working and that their workplace is a library. The number of employees seems to exceed the number of visitors by far. They chat, gossip and scream, someone is hammering away on a piano, people are eating and drinking in the reading rooms, doors are banged – high drama in an institute that ought to be filled with silence and concentration. All these unusual and agitated goings-on cover up the real state of the library. But the short breaks in the racket or the views of the frequently decrepit rooms with their crumbling plaster and bare concrete floors reveal that this place is an anachronism, a remnant of another system, another age. Its only remaining function may be as a meeting point for the librarians, who wouldn’t be more than remnants themselves without this place.

Dinner

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2013
28 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jurga Gluskinienė
Linas Mikuta
Kristina Sereikaitė
Linas Mikuta, Kristina Sereikaitė
Jonas Maksvytis
Every day all those who can’t really afford it are waiting for a warm meal in Liepkalnis Street in Vilnius. While the women are preparing the food in the plain bungalow, laying the tables and pouring the compote, their hungry customers are already outside, waiting for the doors to open. Until then time stands still. Some of them like to use this time for exchanges, others interact rather unwillingly.
People marked by life tell each other about blows of fate, experiences, and insights – or simply misunderstand each other. “Are you talking about Lithuania?” – “No, we’re talking about death.” And yet there seems to be a general wordless communication going on here – at least that’s what the gestures and looks seem to indicate. Tomorrow is a new day and they will be waiting for their lunch again. An unadorned portrait from the margins of society.

Lars Meyer

Exemplary Behaviour

Documentary Film
Bulgaria,
Italy,
Lithuania,
Slovenia
2019
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Rasa Miškinytė, Martichka Bozhilova, Igor Pediček, Edoardo Fracchia
Audrius Mickevičius, Nerijus Milerius
Marjan Šijanec
Audrius Kemezys, Valdas Jarutis, Julius Žalnierukynas, Audrius Mickevičius
Ema Konstantinova, Armas Rudaitis
Rimas Sakalauskas
Audrius Mickevičius, Georgi Tenev
Saulius Urbanavičius
Audrius Mickevičius puts the horribly disfigured face of his murdered brother at the start of his film. He’s interested in the question of how someone atones for such an act. With regard to this particular crime one could say: far too short, because the murderer is released after only five years on the grounds that he proved himself to be an exemplary prisoner. Mickevičius doesn’t confine himself to this individual case, though, but raises his film to a more general level: “Exemplary Behaviour” is almost a meditation about the question whether a final act like murder can be atoned for in a temporal order – and whether the passing of time allows the victim’s family to forgive.

Mickevičius uses the example of two lifers (one of them gets married and wants to have children, the other pours his whole passion into an idea of craftsmanship) and a philosopher with prison experience (Bernhard Stiegler) to make that strange state of suspended life comprehensible. The elegiac undertone is finally reinforced by the information that Audrius Mickevičius fell ill and died during the production of “Exemplary Behaviour”. The film was completed by Nerijus Milerius.

Bert Rebhandl



Awarded with a Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Film, with the Prize of the Interreligious Jury and with the FIPRESCI Prize.

Guilt

Animated Film
Lithuania
2013
5 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Rasa Joni
Reda Tomingas
Andrius Kauklys
Reda Tomingas, Darija Čiuželytė
Reda Tomingas
Andrius Kauklys
A lonely fox isolates herself from the world to enjoy the pleasures of being tormented by guilt. But as the days go by even her personal space gets invaded and starts to crumble. The fox has to choose between madness and reconciliation.

How We Played the Revolution

Documentary Film
France,
Lithuania
2011
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė
Giedrė Žickytė
Viktoras Diawara, Vytautas Bikus
Audrius Kemežys, Eitvydas Doškus, Rimvydas Leipus
Giedrė Žickytė, Samuel Lajus, Laurence Generet
Giedrė Žickytė
Vytis Puronas
In 1984, the beginning of perestroika in the USSR, a group of architects decided to organise a band for a New Year’s party joke in Kaunas, Lithuania. What started as a joke grew into the “Singing Revolution”: the new exciting rock band “Antis” became famous by word of mouth. Their imposing make-up and props, stylised show and lyrics created a pervasive caricature of Soviet propaganda, perfectly discrediting the absurdity of the Soviet reality.

In Memory of a Day Gone By

Documentary Film
Lithuania
1990
39 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Šarūnas Bartas
Valdas Naudžius, Artūnas Leita
Nina Romanovskaja, Ariadna Gruodienė
Šarūnas Bartas
Romualdas Fedaravičius
Šarūnas Bartas’s documentary is one of the first works by the “break generation” of Lithuanian filmmakers who debuted in the 1990s. Marginalised members of society and people with disabilities, invisible in earlier documentaries, came to be principle characters in the new generation’s works, while settings shifted from the romanticised countryside to grimy cities. The shift in aesthetics corresponded to deep changes in the country and represented an attempt by young filmmakers to come to grips with the new reality and find their place in it.

Lisa, Go Home!

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Lithuania
2012
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Uljana Kim, Studio Uljana Kim
Oksana Buraja
Kristina Sereikaite
Oksana Buraja
Oksana Buraja
Giedrius Aleknavicius
Liza has a secret. It will be there, that place somewhere high above where nobody hurts anybody, where everything is beautiful. “That’s where we will live, my family and I.” Liza whispers to herself when she expresses her feelings, which are the focus of Oksana Buraja’s fairly provocative film. Her mother “counts to three”, then the tears must be wiped off and “commands to be merry” are issued. “Standing in the corner” is also part of the daily routine. The girl regularly runs away from home, away from this world of subalterns which is depicted as so deficient, disgusting and horrible that it feels like more than borderline voyeurism. But the focus is always on Liza. We watch her mother and a friend on their tipsy, smoky dancing parties (with men who are barely good enough for partying) from her perspective. Her child’s eyes create idyllic counter-worlds – from the Virgin Mary to a babbling brook. Liza walks barefoot, Liza sings. Liza whispers. Pure innocence. A child. It’s almost a miracle (but then again perhaps not) that she wants to have her family with her “up there” where it’s so nice.

– Barbara Wurm
International Programme 2015
Master and Tatyana Giedrė Žičkytė

A nonconformist bohemian, a wild life, great art, romantic love, the KGB and a mysterious death: the Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus, a glamorous star of Soviet pop culture.

Master and Tatyana

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2014
84 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė
Giedrė Žičkytė
Jurga Šeduikytė, Giedrius Puskunigis
Audrius Kemežys
Danielius Kokanauskis, Domas Kilčiauskas, Giedrė Žičkytė
Giedrė Žičkytė
Vytis Puronas
Vitas who? Vitas Luckus, master of photography, perhaps the greatest in the whole wide former Soviet Union – though very few people knew this because he was never exhibited. His lifestyle was too non-conformist (his pet: a lion), his works too radical (proletarian social realism, naked women’s bodies, the ganglands of Odessa), he himself was too restless (partying non-stop). In short: too uncompromising to the last, when he jumped out of a window three years before Lithuania’s independence.

This film demonstrates how to reconstruct the genius of an artist and the atmosphere of a lifelong amour fou without getting sentimental or bogged down in myth. And more: Vitas Luckus’s unique photos, which today, after his “outing”, as it were, provide, among other things, the context for his friend Boris Mikhailov’s globally renowned oeuvre, open a view on a very special world shimmering in every facet, from the playful tenderness of lovers to the everyday routines between KGB interrogations and Union bohème. And what rare bliss, too: black and white photos, analogue, albums on paper. Their technical simplicity hides a life full of complexities.

Barbara Wurm

Nijolė

Documentary Film
Italy,
Lithuania
2018
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė, Max Chicco
Sandro Bozzolo
Lina Lapelytė
Sandro Bozzolo
Silvija Vilkaitė, María Cecilia Reyes
Maria Cecilia Reyes, Sandro Bozzolo
Vytis Puronas
Antanas Mockus was Mayor of Bogotá, several times Colombian presidential candidate, and voted into the senate in 2018. But this film is not about the politician, but about his 88-year-old mother, the idiosyncratic artist Nijolė Šivickas. She has consistently protected her private life from the public eye, agreeing only reluctantly to media interviews. Even her son knew almost nothing about her Lithuanian childhood. In her artistic practice, but also emotionally, she had turned her back on her homeland.

Now Nijolė has been invited to give a workshop on the occasion of a great retrospective in Vilnius. The film follows her and Antanas on this journey. It’s basically a son’s look at a mother whose independence and critical social spirit were his constant inspiration. Sandro Bozzolo and his team approach their protagonists with restraint, adapt the montage to their rhythm and focus on the rooms of their creative work, on Nijolė’s meetings with Antanas and their journey home together, which moves both deeply. The son takes his mother by the hand, as does this story of an outer and inner journey with the audience. Which events continue to shape one’s life and which had better be forgotten?

Annina Wettstein


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Country Focus Lithuania 2018
No Foe Can Scare Us Edmundas Zubavičius

In director Edmundas Zubavičius’s filmed feuilleton, we observe the absurd reality unfolding in the rehearsals for an imitated nuclear attack of “an enemy behind the border”.

No Foe Can Scare Us

Documentary Film
Lithuania
1978
11 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Edmundas Zubavičius
Romualdas Fedaravičius
Romas Damulis
Edmundas Zubavičius
In director Edmundas Zubavičius’s filmed feuilleton, we observe the absurd reality unfolding in the rehearsals for an imitated nuclear attack of “an enemy behind the border”. The characters of the film are the inhabitants of a small village in Samogitia. They are participating in civil protection exercises and preparing for a civil defence competition. However, although the danger of a new war has escalated and the civil protection exercises have been organized regularly, apparently no one has taken the threat seriously.

One Life

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2019
19 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andrėja Čebatavičiūtė, Giedrė Žickytė
Marija Stonytė
Jurga Šeduikytė
Laura Aliukonytė, Marija Stonytė
Danielius Kokanauskis, Marija Stonytė
Marija Stonytė
Mindaugas Šmėga
Lithuania is proud of its great variety of butterflies. Around 100 species explore the country every year. Marija Stonytė has produced a documentary declaration of love to these magnificent summer birds. Tenderly, a woman breeds butterflies in her flat, observes them pupate, hatch, beat their wings for the first time. Humans keep trying again and again to stage nature for their own purposes. They may ultimately be no more than spectators on cheap seats who witness magic.

Julia Weigl

Second Class

Documentary Film
Lithuania,
Sweden
2012
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall, Marta Dauliūtė
Marta Dauliūtė, Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Thomas Jansson
The balancing act that filmmakers meeting their protagonists have to perform is well-known as a path strewn with snares, frustration and surprises. Patience is the prime virtue and a certain degree of empathy also helps. Marta Dauliūté and Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall meet a group of young Lithuanian men aboard a “Swede ferry” and decide to make a film about these migrant workers. The men refuse, mostly because they do not understand what’s interesting enough about them for two women to fill a whole film with. They don’t want to confirm the stereotype of the migrant worker and feel no inclination to feed the media-induced sympathy machine. A documentary about earthquakes, that’s something they could understand. But about them?
Marta and Elisabeth are not deterred; they drink and dance with the men – and despite their initial resistance, their “subjects of study” gradually begin to acquiesce. Despite their aggressive refusal and stereotypical macho behaviour, the women with the camera manage to scratch their facades after a while and expose – disguised as flirty posing – their innermost thoughts. The result is an attentive study that lays bare a whole series of current social injustices while also providing a clever commentary on the specifically female look at a male object.

Lina Dinkla
Country Focus Lithuania 2018
Sensitivity as Bread Edmundas Zubavičius

The Kaunas Veterinary Academy is at the centre of one of the early films by Edmundas Zubavičius. The observation of the everyday life there reveals a longing for human empathy.

Sensitivity as Bread

Documentary Film
Lithuania
1979
10 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lithuanian Film Studio
Edmundas Zubavičius
Donatas Buklys
Vidmantas Kazlauskas
The Kaunas Veterinary Academy is at the centre of one of the early films by the particularly productive Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Edmundas Zubavičius. The observation of the everyday life there reveals a longing for human empathy – almost as if it was a prayer. The refined connection between image and sound is offset by the poetic cinematic language. Sequences of realistic scenes encourage you to contemplate the link between man and nature.