© Skaitmeninio Vaizdo Ložė
© Saulius Macaitis
© Jurga Verikienė
HISTORY OF LITHUANIAN CINEMA
The first public show took place in Lithuania, Vilnius, in 1897, two years after the legalization of the official date of cinematography. In 1905, there were founded the first cinema theatres, in about 1911 there were about 30 of them all over Lithuania. There were shown Italian, Russian, after the First World War - American, a bit later - German films.
Many of the researchers think that the pioneer of Lithuanian cinematography is Kaunas photographer Vladislovas Starevièius, who in 1908-1909 founded the fundamentals of volumetric animation (that is questionable, because Starevièius is considered a Russian, Polish, French (he lived in these countries after 1919) creator, too). The first chronicles in Lithuania (since 1909 till the beginning of war) were filmed by a cameraman Antanas Raèiûnas, an emigrant to America; his films had a big success in the colonies of Lithuania's emigrants in USA.
In the years of independent Lithuania, there showed up the talented cameramen, creators of chronicles Stepas Udzonas, Stasys Vainalavièius, Antanas Þibas, brothers Kazys and Meèys Motûzai from USA. In 1926, there were founded film studios "Lietfilmas" and "Eye". There were created short films: a farce "A Doctor Under Compulsion" (1927), "Solder - Defender of Lithuania" (1928), a full-length "Onytė and Jonelis" (1931) agitating the youth to stay in village. The first Lithuanian sound-film was marionette "The Fatty's Dream" (1938, dir. Henrikas Kaèinskas). A great part of these films is lost, some ideas of the serious cultural workers Juozas Vaièkus, Borisas Dauguvietis to create a valuable full-length feature film (such projects as "Slaughter of Kraþiai", "Birutė's Song") were not realised.
After the Second World War the distribution and production of films was in the hands of too ideological Soviet authority. The screens of cinema theatres and popular in that time itinerant cinema were flooded with the propagandise Soviet films. Film production in the first post-war years was limited to the same propagandise chronicles (nevertheless, in the topical newsreel of Viktoras Staroðas and Liudgardas Maciulevièius "The Liberated Land", 1945 there are valuable slips in the historical point of view). The first feature film, advertised as Lithuanian one, is "Marytė" (1947), which had nothing in common with Lithuania except the landscape and Lithuanian names of personages. That was the production of Moscow film studio "Mosfilm" with Russian film director Vera Strojeva, Russian actors (even the "red" partisan Marytė was performed by Russian actress Tatjana Lennikova), the only aim of which was to prove that Lithuanian people looked forward the Soviet rule. The same could be said about the film "Dawn near Nemunas" (1953, dir. Alexandr Faincimer), which, with the help of kitsch, eulogised the collectivisation in Lithuanian village. There were some more such films, which were made basically by Russian film directors of the second echelon.
The first generation of national film directors succeeded, because it came to the cinema production after Stalin's death, it began to work under "détente" conditions. The first to return to Lithuania was a film directorÞalakevièius after graduating from the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow (in that time it was the only possibility to acquire the professional education). In time, he managed to consolidate the group of like-minded people. The initial stage of Lithuanian film directors' consolidation was revealed very vividly in the film "The Living Heroes" (1960), which was not only awarded the regional and international (at Karlovy Vary Film Festival) prizes, but, what is the most important, consolidated different direction styles into the art ensemble: the social realism ofGiedrys, the poetical manner ofÞebriûnas, the inclination for heroic dynamic of Bratkauskas, the inclination for psychologism of Þalakevièius.
All the heroes of this film are children, and here there began the tradition of Lithuanian cinema: while talking about subtle child's world, it was possible to avoid the cavils of Soviet censorship. This tradition is followed in many films of Þebriûnas, in Algirdas Araminas' "When I Was a Child" (1968), "A Small Confession" (1972), "Andrius" (1980), in later films "I Am" (1990, dir. Romas Lileikis, Stasys Motiejûnas, the Grand Prix at Costa do Estoriljo, Portugal Film Festival), in RaimundasBanionis' "I Don't Remember Your Face" (1989) and "Children from "America" Hotel" (1990).
Other themes of Lithuanian feature
films - a village of post-war, struggles between patriots and procommunists.
Under the conditions of Soviet rule, the latters had to win both physically
and morally; nevertheless, many films of "détente" period attempted
to show the polysemantic dialectics of that struggle. In the artistic point
of view, these films are different: the dynamic epos "Nobody Wanted to
Die" (1965, dir. Þalakevièius), a psychological "A Staircase
to the Sky" (1966, dir.Vabalas), a detective "Wounded
Silence" (1979, dir. Algimantas Kundelis), a tragicomic "Moon's Lithuania"
(1997, dir.Lukðas), but all of them are linked with
their themes. They are "masculine" films, which in some sense spread
the myth about the Lithuanian cinema school, popularised Lithuanian actors abroad,
and did not allow for the distinct actresses to show up on the screen.
The present life of Lithuania in the Soviet period was revealed far less vividly. Here it could be mentioned some sharp, publicistic-psychological films "The Chronicle of One Day" (1963, dir. Þalakevièius) and "Summer Starts in June" (1969, dir. Vabalas). Since their destiny was very difficult and full of conflicts, Lithuanian film direction avoided this dangerous medium for a long time. In the last years of Soviet State's agony, the Lithuanian cinematographers were choosing safe foreign themes, adapting the works of Western classical literature professionally enough.
Purely national and patriotic notes were already penetrating to the formed, distinctive Lithuanian documentary school in Soviet years, alongside the official line.
The Rebirth fell on Lithuanian cinematographers unexpectedly. Being financed all the time (if they succeeded to evade the barriers of censorship) by Moscow, they (at least the older generation) never worried about the economical and financial side of film production. As it turned out, to change psychologically under new conditions was very difficult or even impossible. The more so, as there began competition, new creators made their debuts, there were founded a great deal of small (sometimes for the only film) film studios, the most serious of which seems to be "Kinema", it let a number of talented creators out to the world. Lithuanian Film Studio lost its monopoly position and now exists more as the basis, rendering services for foreign cinema and television teams. The State, responding to the propose of Culture Ministry, is able to finance two-three feature and about ten documentary films per year (in Soviet times - 5-7 feature and about 20 documentary films).
The young generation of cinematographers
who came to work under these conditions, is strengthened from their first steps
in the art. By the way, they are educated in different cinema schools (not only
that of Moscow, but of FAMU, Prague; Lithuanian emigrantMekas';
Cinema School, Tbilisi; Lithuanian Academy of Music). It is too early to talk
about their achievements or the direction of today's cinema. There are some
remarkable individualities - the representative of elite coo-productionBartas,
other interesting young documentalists. But their works are not well-known in
Lithuania yet. Since the system of film distribution lost the monopoly of State,
too (there remained one subsidised firm "Lietuvos Kinas" ("Lithuanian
Cinema"), the screens of cinema theatres now are overload almost exceptionally
with American production, so there is no place for European, and especially
Bibliography: Kurnatauskas, V. Kinematografijos menas. K., 1928; Þurauskas, L. Garsinė kinematografija. K., 1931; Alseika, V. Filmø prieþiûra Lietuvoje. K., 1938; Malcienė, M. Lietuvos kino istorijos apybraiýa. V., 1974; Malcienė, M. Tarybø Lietuvos kinas (Kino Sovetskoj Litvy). Leningrad, 1980; Lietuviø kino menas ðiandien. V., 1981; Kino meno pagrindai. K., 1982; Lapas, R.M. Ten, ekrane suþibus (It happened on the silver screen). Amerikos lietuviø kinematografija, 1909-1979. Èikaga, 1983; Tapinas, L. Lietuvos kinematografininkai. V., 1986; Lietuvos TSR kinematografija (Bibliographical list). V., 1987; Macaitis, S. 25 seansai. Vienos kartos kino biografija. V., 1990; Ekrane ir uý ekrano. V., 1993.
LITHUANIAN DOCUMENTARY FILMS
The evolution of Lithuanian cinema began from the documentary chronicles, which were created before the First World War and in the period between wars. These activities became more regular since 1935, when the newsreel "Mûsø Lietuva" ("Our Lithuania") was first created. In the Soviet period, since 1945 it was renamed "Tarybø Lietuva" ("Soviet Lithuania"). In spite of the biased nature of the latter, during long decades there were fixed a great number of slips having historical residual or cultural value. In the first newsreels and documentary post-war films there made their first steps such cultural workers as Leonas Tautrimas, Nota Liuboðicas, Viktoras Staroðas, Liudgardas Maciulevièius, Algirdas Mockus who later became the valuable cameraman of feature films.
In 1950 created the full-length pseudo-documentary film "Soviet Lithuania" (among their authors there were Lithuanians Teofilis Tilvytis, script writer, Maciulevièius, film director, Staroðas, cameraman, Balys Dvarionas, composer) was awarded the Stalin Premium, although the film was only a forged review story about the happy, untroubled life of Soviet Lithuania.
The real rebirth of Lithuanian documentary cinema usually is considered to be the period of 1965 - 1960, when there were created Tautrimas' essays "Neringa" and "In the Delta of the Nemunas River" of the neutral natural science themes, Staroðas' "In the Homeland" and "Ten Days in Poland", where the author demonstrated the great talent of interesting reportage creator. Interesting works were created by the directors Þebriûnas ("The Black Procession", 1963), Vabalas ("They Lack Only Fü rer", 1964), Giedrys ("The Song of the Flax", 1965). Young film directors Algirdas Tumas and Algirdas Dausa produced a film "The Night before the Opening of the Exhibition" (1964) about a wooden folk sculpture,Grikevièius - "Tales of the Sun" (1964), "Three Bars" (1966), "Time Walks Through the City" (1967), Verba - "The Old Man and the Land" (1965). They showed a very high level of professionality, developed from the ordinary infomativeness to the philosophical implication of depicted people and events. Many of these films opened the ways to the international recognition for Lithuanian documentary.
In the Soviet period, as well as today, Lithuanian documentary cinema, differently from feature films, could be called the school, despite of the very different personalities who made and make it. The lyricism and philosophically ofVerba, a bit sad comic ofÐablevièius, an inclination for satire, which could hardly be tolerated in Soviet times, of Gediminas Skvarnavièius ("Meat Requires Courage", 1975; "Why does Medea Cry?", 1979), an exceptionally tender love to Lithuanian nature of Petras Abukevièius (the series of films about the teddy Nida) - are the features of Lithuanian national character, rendered on the screen.
The young generation of documentary films' creators made its debut in the period of Rebirth. Their works are also both different and unanimous. It could be that they were more influenced not by Lithuanian documentary, but Russian works, such as sombre feature films of Andrej Tarkovskij, Alexandr Sokurov. Free compositions were influenced by the emigrant Jonas Mekas' cinema "Diaries" (many young creators worked on probation for him). It should be noted that such works of the authors of middle generation, as Edmundas Zubavièius' "The Banks of the River", 1983; "Granny's Pie", 1984; "Shelter", 1986, films of Diana and Kornelijus Matuzevièiai prolong the tradition of kindness (a feature of Verba's works). The remarkable author is Saulius Berþinis, a creator of one of the first political Lithuanian documentaries "A Flag of Bricks" (1988), his attempts to incorporate the today Lithuania's problems into the international context.
The youngest generation of documentary creators, philosophising, seeing the world and today's Lithuania mostly in dark colours - Ðarûnas Bartas, who started working in this field,Audrius Stonys, a laureate of "Felix", Artûras Jevdokimovas, Arûnas Matelis, Algimantas Maceina, Valdas Navasaitis, hesitating between feature and documentary cinema, Ramunė Kudzmanaitė, others who are now studying in the Academy of Music and on who it will depend whether the picture of Lithuania in the documentary of XXI century will be volumetric, various, or exceptionally melancholic, so one-sided.
("AMÞINOJI ÐVIESA") (1988)
- Lithuanian feature film, one of the most remarkable cinema works of the country
during the last decade. In the story of Rimantas Ðavelis the film director
Puipa returns to the village, roots, to the end of fifties
- the period, traditional in the Lithuanian cinema. Here, contrary to the films
of such type, Puipa shows the post-war period not in a publicistic, but a lyrical
and subtle way. Though weapons can be seen in the hands of the characters, shots
are not resounding here, and the general plot is limited to the emotional relationship
among four main characters. A land-surveyor Anicetas (actor Vidas Petkevièius)
has an aversion to his persecutor Pranė (actress Daiva Stubraitė)
and marries the loved Amilė (actress Virginija Kelmelytė) from the
other village. Amilė, guided by hardly understandable inner impulses, can
not believe that this is her real home and leaves away with a jolly machine-operator
Zigmas (actor Kostas Smoriginas) to meet unclear future, but indeed meets the
Although film does not explicitly talk about war, dramatic post-war struggles and forced collectivisation, this hardly bearable burden of the historical past, which is not the past yet, oppresses the heroes and influences the melancholy and bitterness of the film atmosphere. Plastically stylised with the help of the old, nostalgic photographs (cameraman Rimantas Juodvalkis), "Eternal Light" suggestively shows how people rise up, try to stretch themselves and seek for the light. This motive coincided with the awaking self-consciousness and self-respect of Lithuanians in that period. At Locarno International Film Festival this work was awarded the main Golden Sails Prize.
"JAUSMAI") - Lithuanian
feature film (1968). In 1997, spectators and critics recognized it the best
film in Lithuania. Coo-directors of the film are Algirdas Dausa and Almantas
Grikevièius, script written by Þalakevièius. Differently
from the other popular films of that time, here you will not find sociological
approach towards the problems of life and death, nor political accents. "Feelings"
is a drama of sea-coast fishermen's passions. The main characters of the film
are brothers twins (actorsAdomaitis andBudraitis),
one of them becomes a widower with two new-borns (also twins). Both of them
are mixed up in complicated relationships with the sea-coast women, but this
line is conveyed using strictly psychological approach, without any melodramatic
sentiments. The action of the film is developed in the post-war period, on the
sea-coast, where the ex-solder of Vermacht (actorMasiulis)
is hiding. But authors are concerned not with the concrete situation, but more
with its phylosophically sensible perpetuity. "Feelings" is notable
for the great plastic culture, the play on black-white film and dark-light tones
(cameraman Jonas Tomaðevièius). The film "Feelings" was
prohibited to demonstrate in Soviet Union (except Lithuania).
TO DIE ("NIEKAS NENORĖJO MIRTI")
- Lithuanian feature film (1965), which arouse the greatest general response
during all the period of Lithuanian cinema history. Arguments about this film
are still continued. Still, the unquestionable thing is high professionality
of the film: a very sound scenario, written by the film director Þalakevièius,
the precise style of "eastern", the expressive work with black and
white film of cameramanGricius, an excellent actors' performance.
Discussible item - sometimes arising very heated arguments - is the political
side of the film. The film shows the post-war Lithuanian village, bloody collision
between the left-wing forces, represented by brothers Lokiai (Estonian actor
Bruno Oja, Lithuanian actors Adomaitis, Budraitis, Masiulis), and still existing
resistance. Between these forces there is wandering Vaitkus (actor Banionis),
becoming the real hero of the film. The director told he wanted to create a
film-ballad, and indeed, there are many hidden archetypes in the film. In Soviet
Union, "Nobody Wanted to Die" was met one-sidedly and showered with
all possible awards.
Šarūnas (1964-) - Lithuanian
film director, one of the most outstanding representatives of new generation
of cinematographers. His contacts with cinema began in 1985 from the TV serial
"Sixteen-years-olds" (dir. Raimondas Banionis), where Bartas played
one of the main roles. He graduated from the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow.
He made his directorial debut with partly amateurish documentary film "Tofolaria"
(now it is lost) and mediocre-length film (which called spectators' attention)
"For the Remembrance of Last Day" (1989), where the real personages
are "acting themselves" according to the principles of feature film.
The author further "purified" the specific cinema language in the
full-length film "Three Days" (1991), which was awarded the prize
of oicumene committee at Berlin Film Festival (for the problems, the importance
of the theme, the profundity) in 1992, and FIPRESCI Prize for the originality
of the style, the significance of the theme, the beauty of pictures. This is
a story (almost without plot) about three young Lithuanians visiting Kaliningrad-Karaliautchus-Kionigsberg
- a moribund, outraged town. The traditional dramaturgy is ignored in later
Bartas' films, as well: "The Corridor" (1994, it was shown at Berlin
Film Festival), "Few of Us " (1995, shown in Cannes, in the program
"Other Point"), "Home" (1997, shown in the same program
in Cannes). All of them are works of free structure, minimalistic form, philosophical
associations. The works of Bartas are not well-known and analysed in Lithuania,
but they have a small, but faithful round of admirers in the West. Besides,
Bartas is different from others, because he is the first Lithuanian film director
who understood the importance of coo-production for the small, weak cinematography
and who set the relationships with German, French, Portugal producers.
Marijonas (1933-) - Lithuanian film director. He educated in the
Institute of Cinematography, Moscow. Giedrys has created feature and documentary
films. His style is realistic, themes are mostly procommunist ("Men's Summer",
1970; "The Wound of Our Land", 1971; ""Dust in the Sunlight",
1977). Some other films, devoted to the reality of the present, are more close
to the social-psychological trend ("The Riven Sky", 1974; "The
Blossoming of the Unsown Rye", 1978; "A Profligate Son", 1984).
The remarkable work of Giedrys is a historical epopee, very close to the genre
of romantic ballad - the film "Herkus Mantas" (1973) about the Prussian
uprising against the German Knights of the Cross. In 1981, the author was commissioned
by the Moscow Central TV to direct a version of Theodore Dreizer's novel "An
American Tragedy". Currently Giedrys is not employed.
Bibliography: Malcienė, M. Marijonas Giedrys. V., 1977.
GRIKEVIČIUS Almantas (1935-) - Lithuania's film director. He educated in the Institute of Cinematography. He started his creative career in Lithuania with his notable documentary films "Tales of the Sun" (1964, about Lithuanian stained glass), "Three bars" (1966, about conductor Aleksa), "Time Walks Through the City" (1966), in which Grikevièius uses the distinctly original, poetical speech and without secret allusions talks about the nation's destiny, about the relationship between human being and time. All these films were awarded at the international festivals (in Cork, Tours) and those of Soviet Union. In 1968, he, together with Algirdas Dausa, produced his first feature film "Feelings", which, according to the critics, is the best of all Lithuanian films. But then it did not reached the Soviet screen. Nor did another Grikevièius' film "Sadûto tûto" (1974), where spirits of artists' clan were shown too overtly for the Soviet period. Wishing to prove himself in the right and to create films further, Grikevièius had to produce an enormous film version of Avyþius' novel "The Lost Home" about German occupation (1976, prize at All-Union Festival).
The creative path of the producer
was contradictory: he aimed to create the intellectual author's cinema, but
he did not always had possibilities to do it. TV film "A Face in the Target",
having a precisely "polished" detective form (1978, based on the short
stories of Chesterton), is taking place next to his anti-fascistic "Fact"
(1980, the main prize at the All-Union Film Festival; prize for the Best Supporting
Female Performance for Russian actress Jelena Solovej at Cannes Festival); melodrama
"His Wife's Confession" (1983) - next to anti-American film "Honeymoon
in America", where Grikevièius was the director of montage, or next
to political detective "Werewolf's Traces" (1986), his last independent
work. This makes one to think that Grikevièius is an artist who did not
fully used his creative potences.
Bibliography: Macaitis, S. Almantas Grikevičius. V., 1981.
Janina (1953-) - Lithuanian
TV film director. She graduated from the faculty of Artistic Direction in Lithuanian
Conservatoire. She has created some noteworthy films: "Such is my Destiny"
(1994), "From the Life of Ants" (1995, about the residents of Antaviliai
elderly asylum), "From the Life of Elves" (1996, about Lilliputians),
"Venera with a Cat" (1997, about the fates of posers), "From
the Life of Lambs" (1998, about foundling children). As it could be understood
from the titles, three of these films can make a peculiar series. Lapinskaitė's
works are original and distinguished for the combination of drastic, almost
sensational and poetical themes. Choosing non-traditional and often unhappy
heroes, the artist never hurts them - she demonstrates the restraint and tact
of her attitudes. The films of Lapinskaitė were demonstrated and awarded
at international festivals, and everywhere they caused the great interest. The
most remarkable of her awards is Grand Prix for the film "From the Life
of Elves" at the TV film festival in Monte-Carlo.
LUKŠAS Gytis (1946-) - Lithuanian film director. He graduated from the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow. He made his debut with the TV films. His first feature film - "When the Oaks Were Falling" (1976) - literal and heavy film, based on Baltuðis' prose. The lyricism and psychologism, characteristic to Lukðas' creative nature, was revealed in the films "The Last Autumn of Childhood" (1977) and "Summer is over in Autumn" (1982). The latter one, a story about an ex-prisoner and his close people, suggestively showed the disappointment of all the society of that time. Dark and gloomy later films "Grass Roots" (1988) and "Travellers in Winter" (1992), "strange" "Look of grass-snake" did not reached the wanted philosophicality. In 1977, the director tried to change his manner of expression. In the film "Moon's Lithuania" he started to talk in new tragicomedical way about historical post-war period, the traditional item in Lithuanian cinema.
Since 1991, Gytis Lukðas is the President of the Union of Lithuanian Cinematographers.
Jonas (1922-) - Lithuanian
cinematographer and poet, an emigrant in USA. He educated in the Institute of
Cinema of New York College. Jonas Mekas is one of the initiators of anti-Hollywood
New York's movement of independent vanguard cinema creators; one of the founders
of magazine "Film Culture" (1954), on of the authors of "new
cinema" manifest, cinema commentator of the newspaper "The Village
Voice", the initiator of the foundation of cinema directors' co-operative
for independent creators. Mekas has created a great deal of films using the
camera for a fan. He does not see the difference between amateurishness and
professionality, between documentary and acting: with the help of slips he "writes"
his unique and very personal diary. His early films "The Guns of the Trees"
(1961), "The Brig" (1964, the prize of Venice Film Festival), which
Mekas created together with his brother Adolphas, are closer to the traditional
cinematography. The late ones (like "Recollections from the Journey to
Lithuania", 1971) are more experimental, based on very subjective filming
technique. To the cinematographers of the world, Mekas is the cult figure of
avant-garde cinema. In 1994, there was created a film about Mekas "Jonas
in a desert". The young Lithuanian film directors Algimantas Maceina, Julius
Þiþliauskas-Ziz, Arûnas Matelis, Audrius Stonys, Artûras
Jevdokimovas, Vytautas V.Landsbergis worked on probation for Mekas in New York.
Bibliography:Jonui Mekui -- 70. V., żurn. "Kinas", 1992, Nr.9.
PUIPA Algimantas (1951-) - Lithuanian film director. He educated in the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow. His debut in cinema was a short film "Road Signs" (1974), he created films for television, documentary. The first notable film of Puipa - "Devil's Seed" (1979) - considering always urgent problems of material incentive, humanness in the background of an old Lithuanian village. "Devil's Seed", "The Daughter of a Horse-thief" (1981), "A Woman and Her Four Men" (1983) won the prizes at All-Soviet Film Festivals. The latter film is especially distinctive for the individual style of Puipa's producing, his attention to the strange situations and strange heroes, new or old land history, great plastic culture, psychological richness. The drama, developed in the pictorial background of Lithuania, impressed spectator by its affectedness, expressiveness, though here is noticeable the author's turn for stylisation.
The latest Puipa's films "Eternal
Light" (1988, Grand Prix at Locarno Film Festival), "Fish's Day"
(1989), "A Ticket to Tadj Mahal" (1990), "There too are Sandy
Shores" (1991), "Necklace of Wolf's Teeth" (1997, Grand Prix
at Rouen Film Festival) are not equal in their sense and artistic qualities.
On the eve of Atgimimas (Rebirth), there showed up the film "Eternal Light",
one of the most mature pieces of Lithuanian cinema art, which gave the new sense
to the newest post-war period of Lithuanian history. Meanwhile, in other films,
especially in "Fish's Day" and "Necklace of Wolf's Teeth"
there are more motives of stylisation, merging into affectation. In 1998, Puipa
began filming "Elzė from Marshes" (scenario by Þalakevièius).
Audrius (1966-) - film
director, the representative of young generation of Lithuanian documentary creators.
He graduated from Lithuanian Academy of Music. He worked as an actor in the
feature film "Three Days" (1991, dir. Bartas). In the period of Rebirth,
he made his debut in film directing with the film about the popular priest Father
Stanislovas (1989, "To Open the Doors for the Coming"), later, together
with other authors, worked on creation of political film "The Way of Baltic".
But the concreteness of documentary, publicity are not characteristic for Stonys.
In his films, basing on the concrete cases, he attempts to talk about the general
items of existence, to seek the inner harmony of people's lives. Such are his
films "The Land of Blind Men" (1992), "The Apostle of Ruins"
(1993, about a man who lives in Vilnius' ruins, among the old things), "Anti-gravitation"
(1995) and "Flying in the Blue Field" (1996, both these films are
about the person's striving for altitude, space, flight), the newest "The
Port" (1998, about tired bodies and tired souls). All the works of Stonys
were often demonstrated at West Film Festivals and deserved a number of prestige
awards. The most notable of them - "Felix" of Europe Cinema Academy,
which was allotted for a Lithuanian artist for the first (and still the only)
time. This prize was merited for the film "The Land of Blind Men",
a non-sentimental, full of inner light story about blind people.
Henrikas (1930-) -
Lithuanian documentalist. He finished the Drama Theatre studio, worked as an
actor, a producer in television, in 1971 began to create cinema films. To the
best works of Ðablevièius, which today are considered the classical
Lithuanian documentary, is characteristic an original combination of poetry
and humour, strange heroes. Ðablevièius created such films, as "We
Are Thirteen" (1972, about the large family of composer Gaiþauskas),
"The Devil's Invention, the Wheel" (1973, about the team of motorballers
from Skuodas), "Trip Across the Misty Meadows" (1973, about the narrow-gauge
railway), "Apolinaras" (1973, about fat, good-natured militiaman),
"I Danced and I Sang" (1974, about the driver having a turn for playing
music), "A Sorceress" (about the famous specialist of biology, a woman
of difficult nature), "The Time When the Ship Sails" (1984, about
the fishermen of Curonian Lagoon), "Barnabas, the Strongman" (1984,
about the circus artist), and so on. In the years of Rebirth, Ðablevièius
tried to change his style and created dramatised films "I Recognized the
King in You" (1989, about Vytautas Maèernis, a poet of tragic destiny),
"The Stiff Time of Creation" (1990, about Lithuanians' resistance
struggles against Soviets). But these films did not caused much interest. Nor
did the only feature film of Ðablevièius "Our Small Sins"
(1979). The documentaries of the author received a number of awards, the retrospectives
of his works are demonstrated in the specialised West Cinema Festivals. Ðablevièius
now works as a lecturer of documentary film direction in the Lithuanian Academy
of Music. His newest film "The Yard of Dzûkai" (1998) is an
attempt to return to the old and warm expressive manner.
Bibliography: Macaitis, S. Henrikas Šablevičius. V., 1978
Raimondas (1937-) Lithuanian film director. He educated in the Institute
of Cinematography, Moscow. He made his debut directing a film "Cannonade"
(collaborating with Þebriûnas), concerning the traditional theme
for Lithuanian cinema - a post-war situation in the village. To characterise
the further independent works of Vabalas is quite difficult, because he, remaining
true to his "ice-breaker's" theory, often changes his style, themes,
genre, seeks for the newness. His film "Steps in the Night" (1962)
about the escape of prisoners from the German captivity, is created almost in
a documentary manner. In 1964 created "March, March! Tra-ta-ta! "
was openly conditional satire of pre-war militarization of Lithuania. "A
Staircase to the Sky" (1966), which won for the author the most part of
prizes in Soviet Union, again renders the heavy psychological spirit of the
post-war Lithuanian village. Remarkable film about the present "Summer
Starts in June" (1969) was forbidden to demonstrate in Soviet Union. The
novels film "Stone upon Stone" (1971) persuasively recreates the new
in Lithuanian cinema history epoch of serfdom; TV film "Smoke and the Kid"
(1975, based on Jack London's novel "Smoke Bellew") unexpectedly immerse
a spectator in the atmosphere of Alaska's gold-seekers' adventures. Vabalas
created the most popular film in Lithuania - "Flight across the Atlantic"
(1983), the popularity of which rested on both its theme - the tragic epopee
of legendary pilots Darius and Girėnas, and the slightly veiled patriotic
intonation. The last film of Vabalas "Autumn Comes through the Forests"
(based on the novel of an emigrant writer Marius Katiliðkis) was created
Bibliography:Kovas-Macaitis, S. Raimondas Vabalas. V., 1978; Zakrżevskaja, L. Raimondas Vabalas. Maskva, 1975.
Robertas - Lithuanian
documentary film director. He graduated from the faculty of cameramen in the
Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, so at the beginning of his career he
filmed the feature and documentary films of other directors. Verba attained
his full self-expression, when he turned to the independent directing of documentary
films (he wrote scripts for his films himself). His works are very poetic, full
of ethnographic, humanistic motives. From the many of Verba's films, which were
awarded at the All-Union Film Festivals, there could be distinguished films
devoted to portray the old people: "The Old Man and the Land" (1965),
"Èiûtyta Rûta" (1968), "The Dreams of the
Centenarians" (1969), "Sisters" (1973). One more direction of
Verba is the portraits of famous Lithuanian cultural workers. He was an author
of the full-length film about the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Èiurlionis
"I See the World as a Great Symphony".
Bibliography: Tapinas, L. Robertas Verba. V., 1977.
ÞALAKEVIČIUS Vytautas (1930 - 1996) - Lithuanian film director and screenwriter. He is one of most outstanding and controversial art figures. He graduated from the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow. His debut was a short film "The Drowned Man" (1956). His first independent full-length film "Adam Wants to Be a Man" (1959), which tells a sad story of a young man in pre-war Kaunas, shocked with the expression of pictures and cinematography speech, uncommon for those years in Soviet cinema. Created in 1963 "The Chronicle of One Day", a dispute about the present, was even more expressive, full of associative copulas. A film of short stories "The Living Heroes", created in sixties (where Þalakevičius was an art director and a writer of a script for one short story), led out the Lithuanian cinema to the international arena (prizes at Karlovy Vary Film Festival).
The mostly well-known and debatable Þalakevičius' film "Nobody Wanted to Die" (1965) merited a great number of Union and republic prizes. After that, Þalakevičius worked in the largest film studio "Mosfilm" of Soviet Union. Some of the films of publicity character created here ("The Sweet Word "Freedom", 1972; "The Centaurs", 1979) are devoted to the political struggles in South America. Nevertheless, among these official films the director also creates allegoric films (directed in Lithuania "The Whole Truth about Columbus", 1970; adapted Friedrich Dü rrenmatt's "Accident", 1974), tries to reread Anton Chekhov ("The Story of a Stranger", 1980). Even political and considering unimportant themes for Lithuanians films of Þalakevičius are talented, polysemantic, paradoxical. The same could be said about films which were created when the author returned to Lithuania: "I'm Sorry" (1982), full of love and anxiety about the Motherland, its people; anti-fascist "Weekend in Hell" (1988); the last film, a drama of feelings "The Beast Coming out of Sea" (1992). Þalakevičius did not avoid administrative work, too: he worked as an artistic director in Lithuanian film studio, a director in higher courses of script writers and film directors in Moscow. His scenarios aided to the career of film directors Grikevičius ("Feelings", "Fact"), Puipa ("The Devil's Seed"). The versatile and vigorous artist influenced the face and direction of Lithuanian cinema for a long time. Bibliography: Arlickaitė, G. Vytautas Þalakevičius. V., 1980; Diomin, V. Þalakevičius. Moscow, 1982; Þalakevičius, V. Að neþinau (Collection, compiler R. Paukštytė) V., 1997.
ŽEBRIŪNAS Arūnas (1930-) - Lithuanian film director. He graduated from the Lithuanian Institute of Art, has got the education of a painter. This quality is easily noticeable in the cinema sphere, because his films always are plastic and stylish. The first such work - a short story "The Last Shot" in the film almanac "The Living Heroes" (1960), which was awarded the international (Karlovy Vary Festival) and Soviet prizes. After Žebriūnas trained under the well-known Russian film director Mikhail Romm in Moscow, he created one of the most remarkable of his films "The Last Day of the Holidays" (1964, also known as "The Girl and the Echo"), awarded the All-Union prizes, the Silver Sails Prize at Locarno Festival, the Grand Prize at the Juvenile Film Festival in Cannes. Many of Žebriūnas' films, coloured with lyricism, slight humour, are devoted to reveal the inner world of child or juvenile ("The Beauty", 1969; "Nightowl", 1973; TV film "The Adventures of Kalle Blumkvist"; "Nut Bread", 1977). After turning to the adults' themes, Žebriūnas created very plastic, coloured, a bit decorative films on the human passions, exhausting forces (the first Lithuanian musical "The Devil's Bride", 1974; "A Journey to the Paradise", 1980; TV film "Rich Man, Poor Man" from Irving Shaw's novel, 1982). Žebriūnas now works as a lecturer of film direction in Lithuanian Academy of Music. Bibliography: Macaitis, S. Arūnas Žebriūnas. V., 1979; Arefjeva, I. Arūnas Žebriūnas. Moscow, 1990. Bibliography: Macaitis, S. Arūnas Žebriūnas. V., 1979; Arefjeva, I. Arūnas Žebriūnas. Maskva, 1990.
- Lithuanian stage and cinema actor. He graduated from the University of Vilnius,
got the speciality of physicist, later graduated from the faculty of actors
in Lithuanian Conservatoire. He came to the cinema in 1963. His first role was
Donatas Lokys - the most impulsive of four brothers Lokiai, in "Nobody
Wanted to Die" (1965, dir. Þalakevièius). In general, however,
the acting of Adomaitis is characterised by the moderation of feelings, sometimes
turning to rationality, intellectual stress, and the features of a strong character,
able to suppress itself. This concerns such roles as Sergei Lazo in Moldavian
"Sergei Lazo" (1967, the prize at the All-Union Film Festival), a
fisherman Kasparas in "Feelings" (1968), Edmond in Russian "King
Lear" (1970), Francisco in "That Sweet Word "Freedom" (1972,
dir. Þalakevièius), Girdvainis in the musical "The Devil's
Bride" (1974, dir. Þebriûnas), Fisher in "A Face in the
Target" (1978, dir. Grikevièius), Buckus in "Fact" (1980,
dir. Grikevièius). Adomaitis played a great deal of roles in the film
studios of former Soviet Union, won many times, in 1980 was merited as the People's
Actor of Lithuanian SSR, in 1985 - the People's Actor of the USSR. He performed
a number of roles in the film studio "DEFA" of the former DDR.
Currently, he works more in the theatre. The remarkable role in the cinema is a man in a comedy "A Man for the Lonely Woman" (1995, dir. Rustam Ibrahimbekov, Russia).
Bibliography:Adomaitis, R. Prostota - ne Prostovatostj. Moscow, magazine "Isskustvo Kino", 1970, No.; Regimantas Adomaitis - Filmspiegel (Berlin), 1974, No.5; Shostak, Irina Regimantas Adomaitis. Moscow, 1986.
Bronius (1921 -1975)
- Lithuanian stage and cinema actor. In the pre-war Lithuania, he educated in
the Work House acting studio in Kaunas. Since 1940, he worked as an actor in
Panevėþys Drama Theatre. Since 1953, Babkauskas worked in the cinema.
He performed excellent small roles in "Adam Wants to be a Man" (1959,
dir. Þalakevièius) and the role of a showman and a general in Belorussian
film fairy-tale "No Gain Without Pain" (1973); and that of a forester
in "Sadûto Tûto" (1974, dir. Grikevièius), and
other ones. Babkauskas made a great deal of important roles in Lithuanian and
Soviet film studios. He was able to perform persuasively both an intellectual
(Rimða in "The Chronicle of One Day, 1963, dir. Þalakevièius;
a painter Steponas in "Ave, Vita! ", 1969, dir. Grikevièius)
and an ordinary man. The latter ones (Drimba in "Cannonade", 1961,
coo-dir. Þebriûnas and Vabalas; Vilkiðius in "Strangers",
1961, dir. Giedrys; Marcinkus in "Nobody Wanted to Die", 1965, dir.
Þalakevièius; Vaitkevièius in "Feelings", 1968,
coo-dir. Algirdas Dausa and Grikevièius; a horse thief Raupys in "The
Devil's Bride", 1974, dir. Þebriûnas) are especially rich,
impulsive, often led by unique folk humour. In 1965, Babkauskas was nominated
as the People's Actor of the Lithuanian SSR and indeed was highly loved by people
of different generations and social strata.
Bibliography:: Zakarauskas, V. Bronius Babkauskas. V., 1973; Ab, Jevgenij. Bronius Babkauskas. Moscow, 1968; Ab, Jevgenij. Bronius Babkauskas. Leningrad, 1979.
Donatas (1924-) - Lithuanian
stage and cinema actor. Now Banionis works in Panevėþys Drama Theatre.
Since 1959, the actor is employed in cinema. His debut in "Adam Wants to
be a Man" (dir. Þalakevièius), the role of the adventurer
Dausa, partly influenced the further selection of contradictory, "double-ground"
roles. In the cases, when Banionis was invited to perform philosophical (like
the famous Russian film director Andrej Tarkovskij in the film "Solari",
1972) or heroic (like Þalakevièius in "The Centaurs",
1978) roles, the actor, or sometimes all the film, experienced the creative
failure. But contriving or unable to self-determine heroes - the real fad of
Banionis. The most successfully shown not-determined national mentality in Lithuanian
cinema history is Vaitkus in "Nobody Wanted to Die" (1965, dir. Þalakevièius).
The highlight of Banionis was his role of spy Ladeinikov in "Dead Season"
(1968, dir. Russian Sava Kulish), because the profession of intelligencer implies
the "double game", in which Banionis is so strong. Other highlights
include: Goya in "Goya"(1971, dir. Konrad Wolf, National Prize of
GDR), Mackinley in Russian film "The Flight of Mr. Mackinley" (1975,
the National Prize of the USSR), Beethoven in "Beethoven - The Days of
his Life" (1976, GDR), of the latest roles - a small, but notable episode
in "I'm Sorry" (dir. Þalakevièius). Banionis merited
a number of awards for his cultural work: in 1973 - People's Actor of the Lithuanian
SSR, in 1974 - People's Actor of the USSR. Lately he is not engaged in cinema,
works in the theatre.
Bibliography: Petuchauskas, M. Donatas Banionis. V., 1976; Lordkipanidze, N. Donatas Banionis. Moscow, 1972.
Juozas (1940-) - Lithuanian
cinema actor. He educated in the Law Faculty of Vilnius University, later -
in Advanced Directors' Course in Moscow. His first notable role - the youngest
brother Jonas Lokys in "Nobody Wanted to Die" (1965, dir. Þalakevièius).
Moderate means of artistic expression in the cinema works of Budraitis hide
rich, dramatic inner life. Budraitis created such personages as Andrius in "Feelings"
(1968), Horn in "The Colony of the Lanfiers" (1968), Mykoliukas in
"THAT DAMNED HUMBLENESS" (1970, dir. Algirdas Dausa), a painter Petras
in "Sadûto Tûto" (1974, dir. Grikevièius), Gediminas
in "The Lost Home" (1976, dir. Grikevièius), a detective Mason
in "All against One" (1986, dir. Artûras Pozdniakovas) and others.
Budraitis worked a lot in Russian, Belorussian, Estonian, Bulgarian, GDR films.
Foreign film directors used Budraitis in the roles of cosmonauts, officers,
and aristocrats. In 1982, Budraitis was announced the People's Actor of the
Lithuanian SSR. Budraitis directed short films, such as "Reflections"
(1978) and "Birds' City" (1982). He now works as a culture attaché
in Lithuanian embassy in Moscow.
Bibliography: Zakrzevskaja, L. Juozas Budraitis. In the book: Aktiory sovietskogo kino, Moscow, 1975; Juozas Budraitis. Film a doba, (magazine, Praha), 1982, No.12; Macaitis, S. Paradoksy vyraziteljnosti. In the book: Ekran 80/81, Moscow, 1983; Pavlov, Jurij. Juozas Budraitis. Leningrad, 1988.
Vaiva (1948-) - Lithuanian
stage and cinema actress. She graduated from the Theatre Faculty in Lithuanian
Conservatoire. The most striking her role is plastically and musically created
part of Jurga in Þebriûnas' musical "The Devil's Bride"
(based on Boruta's "Baltaragis' Mill"). For the role of Milda, created
in psychological manner, in Lukðas' film "Summer is over in Autumn"
(1982), Mainelytė was awarded the prize at All-Union Film Festival. Among
other more or less distinctive roles of Mainelytė there could be mentioned
Morta in television adventure serial "Tadas Blinda" (dir. Bratkauskas),
Buckuvienė in "Fact" (1980, dir. Grikevièius), Molly Gwynn
in "English Waltz", based on John Galsworthy's play (1982, dir. Lukðas).
She created a number of roles in Latvian, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Georgian
films. Lately she appears mostly on television.
- Lithuanian stage and cinema actor. He finished the Panevėþys Theatre
drama studio and worked in this theatre, now he works in Kaunas Drama Theatre.
His debut in cinema was in 1956, since then he created almost 100 roles. In
the beginning stage of his screen work, Masiulis performed mainly "negative"
heroes - oddities, unlucky wretches, German fascists. One of the most distinctive
roles of this kind was wealthy and analytically performed a timeserver Venckus
in the film "The Chronicle of One Day" (1963, dir. Þalakevièius).
The later cinema roles of Masiulis in the films "Nobody Wanted to Die"
(1965, dir. Þalakevièius; Masiulis played an ordinary, sincere
village teacher), "Feelings" (1968, coo-dir. Dausa and Grikevièius;
the actors' role here - a weak straggled German solder) have more emotionality
and psychologism. It is especially noticeable in the role of an old man Jakimkus
in the film "Summer is over in Autumn" (dir. Lukðas, the prize
at All-Union Film Festival). Masiulis worked a lot in the film studios of former
Soviet Union, but there he was engaged mainly with the typical roles - idlers,
adventurers, exotic characters.
Bibliography: Algimantas Masiulis. V., 1982.
GRICIUS Jonas (1928-) - a cameraman. He educated in the Institute of Cinematography, Moscow, and worked on probation in the film studio "Lenfilm", Leningrad. His debut in Lithuanian cinema was the shooting of unsuccessful comedy "Turkeys" in 1959. The second work of Gricius in "The Last Shot" (included in "The Living Heroes", 1960, dir. Þebriûnas), reveals the independent expression of cameraman as well as his ability to feel the intentions of film director, also his ability to create the plastic symbols, to use uncoloured images, contrasts of black-white and grey colours, shades of light and dark. These features are consolidated in "Cannonade" (1962, dir. Þebriûnas and Vabalas), "Steps in the Night" (1962, dir. Vabalas), "A Staircase to the Sky" (1966, dir. Vabalas), "Stone upon Stone" (1971, dir. Vabalas). The acme of Gricius' creative work - black and white "painting" in "NOBODY WANTED TO DIE" (dir. Þalakevièius) and shooting of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and "King Lear" (1970) for Grigorij Kozintsev, one of the most intelligent Russian film directors.
Later Gricius made colour films,
like "The Blue Bird" (together with Freddy Young), the first Russian-American
coo-production which was produced by the famous film director in Hollywood George
Cukor, in 1975. Gricius made many colour films in Lithuania, as well. One of
them - "A Journey to the Paradise" (1980, dir. Þebriûnas)
is distinguished for the search of pictorial images and gloomy expression.
Now Gricius works as a lecturer of camera art in Lithuanian Academy of Music.
Bibliography:Valiulis, S. Jonas Gricius. V., 1978.; Gricius, J. Byt vzdy druhym (Visada bûti antruoju). Prague, "Film a doba", 1978, No.1.; Gricius, J. Kas jis, kino operatorius? V., "Kinas", 1983, No.11.; Gricius, J. Bolshije problemy malenjkich kinostudij. Moscow, "Iskusstvo kino", 1986, No.6.
The Union of Lithuanian Cinematographers.
Birutės 18, LT-2004 Vilnius, tel., fax: 220759, E-mail: lks 1 a auste.elnet.lt
Lithuanian Culture Ministry. Basanavièiaus 5, LT-2683 Vilnius, fax: 623120, tel. of cinema department: 616005.
Lithuanian Film Studio. Nemenèinės pl. 4, LT-2016 Vilnius, fax: (0122) 764254.
Film studio "Kinema". Grybautojø 30, LT-2016 Vilnius, tel., fax: 770148.
The Centre of Cinema Information and Education. Bernardinø 10, LT-2001 Vilnius, tel. 613039, 611926.
Distributive firm "Lietuvos kinas". Ozo 4, LT-2600 Vilnius, tel. 770973, fax: 770994.
Distributive firm "Amfiteatro filmai". Pylimo 17, LT-2001 Vilnius, tel.: 313120, fax: 313119.
Distributive firm "Cinemark". Birutės 18, LT-2004, Vilnius. tel. 220730, fax: 223716.