HBO Central Europe appoints Peter Koltai as Vice President of Business Development
Budapest July 8 2011HBO Central Europe has appointed Peter Koltai as Vice President of Business Development, he joined the company on July 4th 2011.
Based in the Budapest offices, and reporting to Linda Jensen, CEO of HBO Central Europe, he will be overseeing the roll out of HBO GO and assisting the company in its assessment of new business.
The founder of Basewalk Kft, Mr. Koltai was previously Director of the TV Business Unit at Origo Zrt and Director of Multimedia with T-Online Hungary, following employment at Raiffeisen Bank and PriceWaterhouseCoopers Budapest.Linda Jensen, CEO of HBO Central Europe, said.
“At a time when the opportunities for expanding our business have never been greater, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Koltai to HBO Central Europe.”
About HBO Central Europe
Home Box Office, America’s leading premium television network, provides basic and premium pay television entertainment channels for cable TV, Direct-to-Home and MMDS platforms. HBO Central Europe - owned by Home Box Office Inc. - currently provides basic and premium channels to 14 countries in the region, including: Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia.HBO CE offers five high quality movie channels (HBO, HBO2, HBO Comedy, Cinemax and Cinemax2) and a digital package (HBO HD, HBO2 HD, HBO Comedy HD, Cinemax HD, Cinemax2 HD, broadcasting HBO and Cinemax programming in high definition, HBO ON DEMAND, HBO's subscription video on demand service and HBO GO, HBO’s broadband SVOD service) with unique programming line-ups that offer broad audience appeal.The headquarters of HBO Central Europe is in Budapest, Hungary.http://www.hbo-centraleurope.com/
Renowned US filmmaker and editor Jonathan Oppenheim was among the tutors of the second session of Ex Oriente Film that took place June 13 - 19, 2011 in Prague. We discussed the complexities of Laura Poitras's The Oath, the misunderstood worth of documentary film, power balance in the editing room, three of his favourite films, and more...
MARKET ANALYSIS 2018
It has been a great year for the Lithuanian film industry. The expenditure on film production reached a total of 45 m EUR, with more than 5 m EUR coming from local businesses.
In 2018 the Lithuanian Parliament approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new percentage took effect from 1 January 2019 and the legislation has been renewed for the next five years.
World premieres of Lithuanian films took place at prestigious festivals in Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Leipzig, Tallinn, Venice, Moscow, Lübeck, Toronto, Glasgow, Tbilisi and Copenhagen, with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre. Works from almost all genres – feature films, documentaries, animated films, short films and VRs – were presented to global audiences and contended in competition programmes. The first ever Baltic Film Festival in New York screened notable classic films, the latest feature films, documentaries and animated films from some of the best established and upcoming filmmakers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
A Lithuanian film week was held in Beijing, retrospective programmes of Lithuanian cinema at Karlovy Vary and Reykjavik film festivals, as well as special events for film industry professionals at Pula, Locarno and San Sebastian film festivals.
In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 108 certificates representing a total amount of 8,943,775 EUR in rebates. A total of 47 films used the scheme: eight foreign films, 14 coproductions and 25 domestic films. Their total production costs in Lithuania were 45,494,937 EUR.
In 2018 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 29 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects.
Director Lina Lužytė started shooting her second feature film The Castle / Pilis on 28 June 2018. This coming-of-age drama is the first Lithuanian/Irish coproduction, with Lithuanian Artbox producing in coproduction with Samson Films.
Marat Sargsyan also shot his debut feature The Flood Won‘t Come / Tvano nebus, produced by Tremora, in 2018; Tomas Smulkis shot his first feature People We Know Are Confused / Žmonės, kuriuos pažįstam, produced by Just a Moment; Donatas Ulvydas (known for Tadas Blinda. The Beginning produced by Tauras Films, which became the most profitable Lithuanian film at the national box office in 2011) shot the romantic comedy And All Their Men / Ir visi jų vyrai, produced by ACME Film, and Giedrė Beinoriūtė finished her debut drama Breathing into Marble / Kvėpavimas į marmurą, produced by Lithuania’s Just a Moment in coproduction with Croatian Aning Film D.O.O.
Also in 2018, Jurgis Matulevičius finished his historical psychological drama Isaac, produced by Film Jam and coproduced by Ukraine’s ESSE House and as Poland‘s Takfilm.
Mantas Kvedaravičius shot his first feature Stasis, which is a coproduction between Lithuania, the Ukraine and France, produced by Studio Uljana Kim in coproduction with ESSE Production House and Rouge International.
A total of 47 films used the incentives scheme in 2018, including eight foreign films, 14 coproductions and 25 domestic films.
The list of international productions which used the tax incentives scheme in 2018 includes: the five-episode miniseries Chernobyl / Černobylis directed by Johan Renck (the first coproduction between HBO and Sky Television), serviced by Baltic Film Services; The Conductor / Dirigentas directed by Mikael Hafström, produced by the Swedish production company Spark Film &TV and serviced by Dansu; the big-budget docuseries The Last Tsars / Paskutiniai carai directed by Adrian McDowall and Gareth Tunley, produced by Netflix and serviced by Baltic Film Services; Out Stealing Horses / Vogti arklius directed by Hans Petter Moland, produced by 4½ Fiksjon in coproduction with Zentropa Entertainments5, Zentropa Sweden, Helgeland Film, Film i Väst and Nordisk Film, and serviced by Lithuania’s Ahil; the 10-episode TV series The Oil Fund / Oljefonde produced by Zwart Arbeid in coproduction with Motion Blur, serviced by Artbox; the miniseries Catherine the Great / Jekaterina didžioji produced by HBO and Sky, and serviced by Baltic Film Services; Ghost Net / Tinklas vaiduoklis directed by Charlotte Brändström, produced by Daniel Lägersten and Brain Academy (Sweden), and serviced by Dansu; and HBO Nordic's first original series from Norway, Beforeigners / Atvykėliai directed by Jens Lien, produced by Rubicon TV and serviced by Artbox.
A total of 21 new Lithuanian films were released in 2018, including Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s drama Breathing into Marble, produced by Lithuania’s Just a Moment in coproduction with Croatian Aning Film D.O., Ashes in the Snow / Tarp pilkų debesų directed by Marius Markevičius, produced by the US company Sorrento Productions in cooproduction with Lithuania’s Tauras Films and US Twilight Merengue Studios; Owl Mountain / Pelėdų kalnas directed by Audrius Juzėnas, produced by Lithuania’s Kino gamyba.
ACME Film, which was established in 1999 and is still the largest film distributor in the Baltics, distributes films from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment and numerous other independent producers. The company distributes the films theatrically, on DVD, VOD and on TV. In 2017, ACME film distributed the Lithuanian feature Ashes in the Snow.
Lithuanian films had a tremendous year at festivals. They were presented to the world and launched on global tours with busy schedules. After screening in the East of the West competition at the Karlovy Vary IFF, Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s drama Breathing into Marble went to the Haifa Film Festival in Israel and the Busan Film Festival.
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s first long documentary Acid Forest / Rūgštus miškas (Neon Realism) had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it won the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award in the First Feature category, and afterwards it had its Eastern European premiere at the Ji.hlava IDFF.
Kristina Buožytė’s VR animation project Trail of Angels / Angelų takais had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. For the second year in a row Lithuania participated in the Toronto International Film Festival. The 43rd edition of the festival included the world premiere of Marija Kavtaradzė’s debut feature Summer Survivors / Išgyventi vasarą, a 100% Lithuanian production between M-films and After School. The film was screened in the Discovery category.
Works of documentary filmmakers continued their successful journeys through global film events. Mindaugas Survila’s essay The Ancient Woods / Sengirė produced by Sengire, was presented at the Sydney Film Festival, while Arūnas Matelis’ Wonderful Losers: A Different World / Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta, produced by Lithuanian‘s Studio Nominum in coproduction with Latvia‘s VFS FILMS, Stefilm International, Associate Directors, DOKMobile, Dearcán Media, Planet Korda Pictures and SUICA Films, was screened at the Belfast “Pull Focus” Documentary Festival, and eventually won the competition programme at the Ulju Mountain Film Festival in Korea.
Wonderful Losers: A Different World directed by Arūnas Matelis was the Lithuanian submission for the 91st Academy Awards, aiming for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary nominations. The film is a Lithuanian/Italian/Belgian/Swiss/Irish/British/Spanish/Latvian coproduction.
The documentary Bridges of Time directed by Audrius Stonys together with the Latvian director Kristīne Briede, a coproduction between VFS FILMS, Studio Nominum and Vesilind, premiered at the Karlovy Vary IFF in the Documentary Films Competition section and it was also screened at the IDFA in the Masters section.
In 2018 the Karlovy Vary IFF included a retrospective of classics from the Baltics entitled Reflections of Time: Baltic Poetic Documentary.
PÖFF’s competitive programme – First Feature Competition included the world premiere of Ernestas Jankauskas’ Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša produced by Dansu Films.
The 61st edition of DOK Leipzig had Lithuania as the country in focus to celebrate Lithuania’s centenary and displayed the extensive Lithuanian retrospective Challenges of (In)Dependence, which was the biggest national cinema programme in 12 years.
Lithuanian short films were also screened at international festivals in 2018. Titas Laucius’ Snake was awarded the Cineuropa Audience Award at the FEST – New Directors | New Films in Espinho, Portugal.
An extensive programme of Lithuanian animated films was presented at the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb,, while Ilja Bereznickas’ animated film The Goat Luck – Bad Luck was screened at the FEST – New Directors | New Films in Espinho and at the 2018 Animix Festival in Tel Aviv. Akvilė Žilionytė’s short film A Piece for Two Hands was presented at the Sound & Image Challenge International Festival in the Macau, China.
The Lithuanian filmmaker Arūnas Žebriūnas’s restored 1969 classic The Beauty / Gražuolė, produced by the Lithuanian Film Studio, ran across French cinemas. It was the first time that a Lithuanian classic film ran in multiple cinemas outside the country. The film’s restoration and digitalisation in 2015 was commissioned by the Lithuanian Film Centre, in cooperation with the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania.
In 2018 the 2nd edition of Baltic Film Days took place in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. The 18th goEast festival in Germany put a spotlight on the Baltic States with a symposium, “Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema”, dedicated to the national cinemas of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, their histories, pursuits of national and cultural identities. The festival’s programme also included some of the key recent titles of Baltic cinema.
The 15th Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland dedicated part of its programme to the cinematographies of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on the occasion of the centenary of the Baltic nations’ statehood. The special programme “In Focus: Baltic Countries”, put together in cooperation with the national film centres of the three countries, comprised nearly 30 works representing Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian filmmaking.
EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE
There are 84 screens in Lithuania, which is too small a number, according to the Lithuanian Film Centre, in order to provide access to films in smaller cities.
The pan-Scandinavian Forum Cinemas, owner of the largest chain of film theatres in the country (76% of the market share), has six multiplexes with 40 screens, all fully digitalised since 2012. In 2016 Forum Cinemas joined the NCG group, which became a part of the global AMC/Odeon organisation belonging to the Wanda Group since 2017.
The Polish-owned multiplex Multikino, which opened in Vilnius in 2010, has seven screens with 1,673 seats. Baltic Multiplex Ventures, which is the owner of the Cinamon multiplex in Kaunas, invested 1.6 m EUR in its five screening rooms with over 1,000 seats.
Kino Pasaka, which was founded in 2009 as an art house film theatre in Vilnius and is still the only private art house cinema in Lithuania, offers two screens, a VOD platform and also distributes films in Lithuania and the Baltic states. Its VOD platform e.kinopasaka.lt was launched in September 2016.
A total of 351 films screened in Lithuanian cinemas in 2018 with 4,266,042 admissions through 31 December 2018, compared to 4,060,159 admissions in 2017. Total gross was 22,444,111 EUR compared to 20,392,625 EUR in 2017. Total admissions increased by 5 percent in 2018 and total gross by 10 percent.
A total of 26 Lithuanian films (including 21 premieres) screened in cinemas in 2018. Sixteen of them were financed by the Lithuanian Film Centre and nine of them used the tax incentives scheme.
Admissions for domestic films increased by more than 35 percent from 860,000 in 2017 to more than 1.17 m in 2018. Domestic films‘ box office increased by 38 percent from 4.5 m EUR in 2017 to 6.25 m EUR.
The average ticket price slightly increased from 5 EUR in 2017 to 5.26 in 2018.
The most profitable Lithuanian film at the national box office in 2018 was Ashes in the Snow / Tarp pilkų debesų, a WWII drama based on the bestseller Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. The film directed by Marius Markevičius, produced by Sorrento Productions, Tauras Films, Twilight Merengue Studios and released by Acme Film had 240,880 admissions and 1,295,396 EUR gross since its premiere on 12 October 2018.
The comedy Class Reunion: The Boys Are Back! / Klasės susitikimas: berniukai sugrįžta! directed by Kęstutis Gudavičius and produced and distributed by Vabalo filmai had 182,583 admissions and 1,005,157 EUR gross since its release on 29 December 2017.
The comedy Lithuanian Swingers / Lietuviški svingeriai directed by Tadas Vidmantas, produced and distributed by Vabalo filmai had 111,943 admissions and 645,911 EUR gross, since its release on 25 September 2018.
Women Lie Better: Robert / Moterys meluoja geriau. Robertėlis directed by Andrius Žiurauskas, produced and distributed by Singing Fish, had 107,770 admissions and 595,682 EUR gross since the release on 3 August 2018.
GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION
The annual state support for film industry in 2018 was 6,423,000 EUR, compared to 4,619,000 EUR in 2017. In 2018 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 29 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects, as well as the preproduction and script development of 21 projects, the script development of 10 projects and the distribution of 13 films.
The total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre was 4,591,831 EUR, compared to 3,599,560 EUR in 2017.
The Lithuanian audiovisual industry depends on funds from the Lithuanian Film Centre, private funds, coproducing with foreign companies and pan-European film support initiatives such as the MEDIA Programme and Eurimages.
The Lithuanian Film Centre was launched in 2012 and is headed by Rolandas Kvietkauskas. The long awaited LFC was set up after extensive lobbying by the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. It has had a huge impact on the local industry, which previously lacked a central body to represent it. The LFC primarily finances film development, production and distribution in Lithuania and abroad.
The new Lithuanian incentive scheme became operational in January 2014. The Belgian creative industry consultancy KEA European Affairs conducted, under the commission of the Lithuanian Film Centre, a research to analyse the results of the national tax incentive for film production from 2014 to 2017. According to the research, the period from 2014 to 2017 was particularly productive for the film industry with a growing volume of national productions and coproductions as well as an increasing number of projects implemented by foreign film companies. During this time Lithuania received 24.4 m EUR worth of investment from foreign film producers.
A total of 68 filmmakers benefited from the tax incentives, including 23 films by foreign companies. The Lithuanian tax incentive drew the attention of such companies as the BBC and HBO. The tax incentive also encouraged local investment in the film industry. A total of 8,526,871 EUR was poured into film production by local businesses during the 4-year period.
In 2018 the Lithuanian parliament approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new percentage took effect from 1 January 2019 and the legislation has been renewed for the next five-year period. The updated tax incentive is available for fiction films, TV films, documentaries and animated films. At least 80% of eligible film production costs must be incurred in Lithuania and the total amount of eligible spend in Lithuania has to be no less than 43,000 EUR. The incentives scheme is administered by the Lithuanian Film Centre.
The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. A public non-profit entity, the Kaunas Film Office was established in 2012 as a result of joint efforts between the Kaunas municipality and the Kaunas Cinema Studio. The Vilnius Film Office and the Kaunas Film Office are members of the European Film Commissions Network.
Lithuania’s public broadcaster the Lithuanian National Radio and Television operates three national television channels, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts. LRT uses modern computer graphics equipment as well. Studios of 70, 120, two studios of 300 and one of 700 square meters are available. There are also OB stations.
Since 1 January 2015, the Act amending the Law on the Lithuanian National Radio and Television came into force. This act bans commercial advertising on all LRT radio and TV channels, but provides more sustainable funding from the state budget. The assigned funding is based on the state budget revenues from the income tax and the excise revenues received in two previous years. Its operations are overseen by the LRT Council. LRT joined the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1993. LRT provides assistance to foreign broadcasting companies covering events in Lithuania.
TV3 is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group (MTG, Sweden) and targeted at the Lithuanian-speaking audience. It was founded on 7 May 1992 and launched on 11 April 1993 as Tele-3, before becoming TV3 on 8 June 1997. TV3 was the most popular TV station in Lithuania in 2018 and had 2,6 million admissions or 17,8%, according to statistics.
LNK TV, also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (Free and Independent Channel), is one of the major commercial TV channels in Lithuania. It was founded in 1995 as part of MG Baltic Media. It has four sister channels: TV1, Info TV, Liuks! and BTV.
Lietuvos rytas TV is a Lithuanian entertainment channel founded in 2008 and airing approximately 55% of international programmes. In 2008 Lietuvos Rytas TV replaced the Lithuanian station Penktas Kanalas and it is part of the Lietuvos Rytas Media Group.
Launched in 2002, TV6 is a Lithuanian terrestrial, satellite and cable television channel owned by the Nordic television company Viasat.
In 2018 LRT continued to air the historical drama Partisans. The Price of Freedom / Partizanai. Laisvės kaina directed by Saulius Balandis and produced by Videometra.
Also in 2018 TV3 aired the 11th season of the most popular Lithuanian TV series Women Lie Better / Moterys meluoja geriau directed by Mykolas Vildžiūnas and Andrius Žiurauskas, and produced by Videometra. Women Lie Better is the most popular Lithuanian drama of all time and it is based on a novel by Daiva Vaitkevičiūtė. The series follows four young women and their love interests.
Another very popular TV crime fiction series aired on TV3 in 2018 was Condemn / Pasmerkti directed by Ramūnas Rudokas and produced by Videometra.
LNK TV aired in 2018 the criminal drama series Serious Deal / Rimti reikalai directed by Džiugas Siaurusaitis, produced by Urbs TV.
Report by Auksė Kancerevičiūtė (2019)Source: Baltic Films
MARKET ANALYSIS 2017
Lithuanian film industry had a good year in 2017, with films made with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre and selected for major festivals – Cannes, Toronto, Locarno, Venice, Karlovy Vary, IDFA Amsterdam – and international productions flocking in after the launch of the incentives scheme in 2014. In 2017 Lithuania was also a guest country at the Minsk International Film Festival Listapad.
Total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre increased by 40 percent, from 2,568,616 EUR in 2016 to 3,599,560 EUR in 2017.
In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 69 certificates representing a total of 3,756,205 EUR in rebates. A total of 35 films benefited from the incentives scheme: 13 national films, 15 international coproductions and seven commissioned films. All of them spent more than 19,315,294 EUR in Lithuania in 2017.
Total admissions increased by 10.6 percent in 2017 and total gross increased by 15 percent.
Admissions to domestic films increased by 22.9 percent and domestic gross by 28.5 percent.
The Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) adopted a new Film Law on 12 December 2017.
In 2017 director Audrius Juzėnas shot his fourth feature film Owl Mountain / Pelėdų kalnas, with Kino gamyba producing. This historical drama will be released on 16 February 2018, the day when Lithuania celebrates the 100th anniversary of its Act of Independence.
Ignas Jonynas also shot his new feature film Invisible / Nematoma in 2017. Invisible is a Lithuanian/ Ukrainian/Latvian coproduction between Revoliucijos idėja, Limelite and Locomotive Productions.
The acclaimed film, theatre and TV director Raimundas Banionis returned to film directing after 25 years with The Purple Fog / Purpurinis rūkas. This historical drama produced by Studija 2 will be theatrically released in 2018.
One of the most promising young Lithuanian directors and scriptwriters, Marija Kavtaradzė, started shooting her debut feature Summer Survivors / Vasara in August 2018. The film is a 100% Lithuanian production, produced by Marija Razgutė through M-films in coproduction with After School.
Also in 2017 the prominent Lithuanian documentarist Audrius Stonys worked together with the Latvian director Kristine Briede on their project Baltic New Wave, a creative documentary on Baltic documentary filmmakers from the Soviet times. This Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian coproduction between VFS Films, Studio Nominum and Vesilind was one of the winners at the 2017 Meeting Point - Vilnius industry screenings.
In 2017 Giedrė Žickytė finished shooting her new creative documentary The Jump / Šuolis, produced by Lithuania’s Moonmakers in coproduction with Latvia’s VFS Films, France’s Faites un Voeu, Germany’s Sutor Colonko and Naked Edge Films (U.S.), which started filming in December 2015.
The partially animated feature documentary The L-Team / L-Komanda (See here) by director Andrius Lekavicius was also produced in 2017 with the premiere set for spring 2018. The film is produced by 360 laipsnių filmai in coproduction with Latvia‘s SIA Tanka.
International productions were attracted to Lithuania by the incentives scheme launched in 2014. In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 69 certificates representing rebates of a total of 3,756,205 EUR. A total of 35 films benefited from the incentives scheme: 13 national films, 15 coproductions and seven commissioned films. All of them spent more than 19,315,294 EUR in Lithuania in 2017.
The following international productions used the incentive scheme in 2017: the TV drama Kruso, directed by Thomas Stuber and coproduced by Germany‘s Ufa Fiction GmbH and the local company Lietuvos Kino Studija, Going Vertical / Judėjimas aukštyn, directed by Anton Megerdichev, produced by Russia‘s Three T Production and serviced by Lithuanian Artbox, The Legend of Escape / Legenda apie pabėgimą, directed by Andrey Malyukov, coproduced by Russia‘s Foundation of National Cinema Patriot and the local company Artbox; Orange Fever / Oranžinė karštligė, directed by Pim van Hoeve, produced by Gek van Oranje (Netherlands) and the local coproducer Artbox; Swamp / Pelkė, directed by Camilla Stroem Henriksen and produced by Hummelfilm (Norway, Sweden) in coproduction with Lietuvos Kino Studija; Instrument of War / Tikra drąsa, directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg, produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures (U.S.) in coproduction with the local production company Baltic Film Services; Tulips, Love, Honour and a Bike / Tulpės, meilė garbė ir dviratis, directed by Oscar-winning Mike van Diem, produced by FATT Productions (Netherlands) in coproduction with the local coproducer Artbox.
Lithuanian films had a tremendous year at festivals. The world premiere of Frost / Šerkšnas by Sharunas Bartas took place within the Directors’ Fortnight at the 70th Cannes Festival in May 2017. Then the film travelled to several important film festivals including Locarno and Odessa. It was screened at the Riga IFF and also at the Minsk FF, where Bartas received the Best Director Award. Frost has been chosen as the official candidate from Lithuania for an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The film is a Lithuanian/Ukrainian/French/Polish coproduction, produced by Studija Kinema, France‘s Kino Elektron, Poland’s Donten & Lacroix Films Sp. z o. o. and Ukraine‘s TatoFilm.
The tragic comedyMiracle / Stebuklas directed by Eglė Vertelytė, had a major success not only in Lithuania, but also abroad. This Lithuanian/Bulgarian coproduction between In Script and Geopoly was the first Lithuanian film selected for the Toronto IFF in over 15 years.
The feature film Emilia / Emilija iš Laisvės alėjos, directed by Donatas Ulvydas, had screenings for the American film industry representatives and the Lithuanian community in the U.S., and also at the Canadian Film Institute. Emilia was produced by Fralita Films in coproduction with Ulvyds.
Arūnas Matelis‘s documentary Wonderful Losers: A Different World / Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta premiered at the Warsaw FF and won awards for best documentary at both Warsaw and Minsk festivals. The film is a Lithuanian/Italian/Belgian/Swiss/Irish/British/Spanish/Latvian coproduction, produced by: Nominum, VFS FILMS, Stefilm International, Associate Directors, DOKMobile, Dearcán Media, Planet Korda Pictures and SUICA Films.
The long documentary The Ancient Woods / Sengirė, directed by Mindaugas Survila, was selected for the 2017 IDFA in Amsterdam. The production companies behind the film are Lithuania‘s Sengirė, Germany‘s Ma.ja.de Filmproduktions and Estonia‘s OU Vesilind.
The Lithuanian/German coproduction What We Leave Behind / Liebe Oma, Guten Tag!, directed by sisters Jūratė Samulionytė and Vilma Samulionytė, was selected for the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck and the 34th Kassel Dokfest. The film was produced by Lithuania's Tremora in coproduction with Germany‘s Dagstar Film.
Eleven new Lithuanian films were released in 2017, including Frost directed by Sharunas Bartas, Emilia directed by Donatas Ulvydas, The Saint / Šventasis directed by Andrius Blaževičius, Miracle directed by Eglė Vertelytė, the black comedy Zero III directed by Emilis Vėlyvis and produced by Kino Kultas and NeverEver.
ACME Film, which was established in 1999 and is still the largest film distributor in the Baltics, distributes films from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment and numerous other independent producers. The company distributes the films theatrically, on DVD, VOD and on TV. In 2017, ACME film distributed the Lithuanian feature Emilia directed by Donatas Ulvydas. In 2017, ACME Film had revenues of 7,137, 244 EUR and 1,432,497 admissions from a total of 72 titles.
Garsų Pasaulio Irašai (GPI) is the largest video distribution company in the Baltics and also the exclusive distributor of Sony Pictures HE in the Baltics.
There are 79 screens in Lithuania, which is too small a number in order to provide access to films in smaller cities. „There are too few screens in Lithuania and even fewer independent cinemas, so it’s quite difficult to book more than four or five screens for the release week“, Greta Akcijonaite, the co-owner and manager at Kino Pasaka, a distribution, exhibition, film education and audience projects’ development company in Lithuania, told FNE in June 2017, when she was FNE‘s Distributor of the Month.
The pan-Scandinavian Forum Cinemas, owner of the largest chain of movie theaters in the country (76% of the market share), has six multiplexes with 40 screens, all fully digitalised since 2012. In 2016 Forum Cinemas joined the Nordic Cinema Group (NCG) and in 2017 the NCG was bought by the global AMC/Odeon.
Kino Pasaka, which was founded in 2009 as an art house movie theater in Vilnius and is still the only private art house cinema in Lithuania, offers two screens and a VOD platform, and also distributes films in Lithuania and the Baltic states. Its VOD platform e.kinopasaka.lt was launched in September 2016.
A total of 309 films screened in Lithuanian cinemas in 2017 with 4,060,159 admissions through 31 December 2017, compared to 3,668,370 admissions in 2016. Total gross was 20,392,625 EUR compared to 17,724,516 EUR in 2016. Total admissions increased by 10.6 percent in 2017 and total gross by 15 percent.
A total of 15 Lithuanian films (including 11 premieres) screened in cinemas in 2017. All of them were produced with state support - six of them were financed by the Lithuanian Film Centre and ten of them used the tax incentives scheme.
Admissions to domestic films increased by 22.9 percent from 699,207 in 2016 to more than 860,000 in 2017. Domestic films‘ box office increased by 28.5 percent from 3.5 m EUR in 2016 to 4.5 m EUR in 2017.
The average ticket price slightly increased from 4.83 in 2016 to 5 EUR in 2017.
The most profitable Lithuanian movie at the national box office in 2017 was the comedy Three Million Euros / Trys milijonai Eurų, directed by Tadas Vidmantas and produced & distributed by Vabalo filmai. The film was released on 27 October 2017 and had more than 235,667 admissions and 1,304,887 EUR gross until the end of 2017.
The third part of Emilis Vėlyvis‘s famous trilogy Zero III drew more than 194,486 viewers, earning 1,008,470 EUR . Zero III was produced by Kino Kultas and NeverEver, and it was released by Cinema Cult Distribution. The film was also theatrically released in Great Britain and Ireland.
Emilia / Emilija iš Laisvės alėjos, directed by Donatas Ulvydas and released by Acme Film, had 124,162 admissions and 578, 619 EUR gross since its premiere on 16 Febuary 2017.
The comedy Kaip susigrąžinti ją per 7 dienas, directed by Andrius Žiurauskas, produced and released by Singing fish, had 89,616 admissions and 465,368 EUR gross since its premiere on 6 October 2017.
The comedy Klasės susitikimas: berniukai sugrįžta!, directed by Kęstutis Gudavičius, produced and released by Vabalo filmai, had 64,271 admissions and 378,882 EUR gross since its opening on 29 December 2017.
The comedy Poilsiautojai. Pavydo žaidynės, directed by Simonas Aškelavičius, produced and distributed by Full Screen, was released on 24 November 2017 and had more than 50,710 admissions and 281,885 EUR gross until the end of 2017.
Andrius Blaževičius’s debut feature The Saint / Šventasis, winner of the 10th Lithuanian Film and TV Silver Crane Awards 2017 in six categories (best feature film, best director, best actor, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best script), drew more than 46,856 viewers and earned over 243,062 EUR. The film, produced by Lithuania’s M-films in coproduction with Poland’s No Sugar Films, was released by Kino Pavasaris.
The comedy 12 Chairs / 12 kėdžių, directed by Algirdas Ramanauskas and produced & distributed by Film Jam, had more than 28,243 admissions and over 138,341 EUR gross from 23 December 2016 until the end of 2017.
The tragi-comedy Miracle / Stebuklas, directed by Eglė Vertelytė and released by In Script,, had 14,341admissions and 71,184 EUR gross.
In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 34 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects, as well as the preproduction and development of nine film projects and the distribution of six films. The Lithuanian Film Centre also supported the production of 17 projects dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian state.
The total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre was 3,599,560 EUR in 2017, compared to 2,568,616 EUR in 2016. The increase is 40 percent.
The annual state support that the Lithuanian Film Centre spent on the film industry in 2017 was 6,423,000 EUR, compared to 3,519,000 EUR in 2016.
The Lithuanian Film Centre was launched in 2012 and is headed by Rolandas Kvietkauskas. The long awaited LFC was set up after an extensive lobbying by the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. It has had a huge impact on the local industry, which previously lacked a central body to represent it. The LFC primarily finances film development, production and distribution in Lithuania and abroad.
On 12 December 2017 the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) adopted a new Film Law. Since 1 January 2018, artistically valuable films spoken in Lithuanian can receive up to 90% of State support. In 2016, The Lithuanian Film Centre primarily financed up to 75% of film development or production. A feature film will get up to 725,000 EUR support. Coproductions may be granted up to 60%. Low budget and experimental film categories don‘t exist anymore. Germany, Estonia and Latvia are among the leading coproduction partners.
The new Lithuanian incentives scheme became operational in January 2014. The incentives scheme offers up to 20 percent of Lithuanian production budget. The minimum spend in Lithuania has to be 43,000 EUR. Minority coproductions are also encouraged to apply for the rebate, which is guaranteed through the end of 2018. The incentives scheme is administered by the Lithuanian Film Centre.
The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. A public non-profit entity, the Kaunas Film Office, was established in 2012 as a result of a joint effort between the Kaunas municipality and the Kaunas Cinema Studio. The Vilnius Film Office and the Kaunas Film Office are members of the European Film Commissions Network.
Lithuania’s public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television operates three national television channels, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts.
TV3 is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group (MTG, Sweden) and targeted at the Lithuanian-speaking audience. It was founded on 7 May 1992 and launched on 11 April 1993 as Tele-3, before becoming TV3 on 8 June 1997.
LNK TV, also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (Free and Independent Channel), is one of the major commercial TV channels in Lithuania. It was founded in 1995 as a part of MG Baltic Media. It has four sister channels: TV1, Info TV, Liuks! and BTV.
Launched in 2002, TV6 is a Lithuanian terrestrial, satellite and cable television channel owned by the Nordic television company Viasat.
In 2017 the Lithuanian National Television continued to air the historical drama Volunteers.The Price of Freedom / Savanoriai. Laisvės kaina and Partisans. The Price of Freedom / Partizanai. Laisvės kaina, both directed by Saulius Balandis and produced by Videometra.
Also in 2017 TV3 aired the 10th season of the most popular Lithuanian TV series Women Lie Better / Moterys meluoja geriau, directed by Raimundas Banionis and Mykolas Vildžiūnas, and produced by Videometra. Women Lie Better is the most popular Lithuanian drama of all time and it is based on a novel by Daiva Vaitkevičiūtė. The series follows four young women and their love interests.
Another very popular TV comedy series aired on TV3 in 2017 was Bruto and Neto / Bruto ir Neto, directed by Ričardas Vitkaitis and produced by Videometra.
Report by Auksė Kancerevičiūtė (2018)Source: the Lithuanian Film Centre, Baltic Films
PULA: The 58th Pula Film Festival (9-23 July 2011 www.pulafilmfestival.hr) brings together the best in international film and a national programme of new Croatian films in its National Programme (16-23 July). The Croatian programme will showcase 19 films, ten Croatian films and nine Croatian minority coproductions.
This year for the first time the screenings in the famous Pula Roman era Arena will be digital The sponsor of the festival, the Zagreb-based company Audio Video Consulting, provided Barco's 2K projectors. The screenings in the Arena will also showcase the DP2K-32B projector, officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the brightest digital cinema projector in the world.
Five of the films in the National Programme section are based on based on screenplays approved through Croatian Audio Visual Centre (HAVC http://www.havc.hr/). There are also five independent productions which were granted financial support by the HAVC. There are six debutant directors, Daniel Kušan, Tomislav Žaja, Biljana Čakić Veselič, Aldo Tardozzi, Stanislav Tomić and Irena Škorić, in the company with their more experienced colleagues Dalibor Matanić and Dan Oki, and veterans Tomislav Radić and Branko Ivanda. Three Croatian films star children - the historical Lea and Darija by Branko Ivanda, children's film featuring fantastic elements Koko and the Ghost by Danijel Kušan and Little Gipsy Witch by Tomislav Žaja. Then there are two dramas tackling the topics of love and family, Kotlovina by Tomislav Radić and Step by Step by Biljana Cakić-Veselič. We will also present three crime thrillers: Dalibor Matanić's psychological thriller Daddy, Dan Oki's noir Darkness and Aldo Tardozzi's Blurs, the war drama Josef by Stanislav Tomić and the comic erotic drama 7 seX 7 by Irena Škorić.This year's Festival will also showcase as many as 13 films from the region, out of which seven in the Minority Co-Productions Programme: the Slovenian Piran-Pirano by Goran Vojnović and Good Night, Missy by Metod Pevec, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Belvedere by Ahmed Imamović, the Serbian The Enemy by Dejan Zečević, The White Lions by Lazar Ristovski and How I Was Stolen by the Germans by Miloš Mišo Radovanović, as well as the Montenegrin Local Vampire by Branko Baletić. Apart from the regional co-productions, there is also one with Denmark, Room 304 by Brigitte Staermose, and one with Germany, Max Schmelling by Uwe Boll.Five films from the region compete in the International Programme: the Macedonian Mothers by Milče Mančevski, the Slovenian Silent Sonata by Janez Burger, as well as the Serbian Montevideo, God Bless You by Dragan Bjelogrlić, Cinema Komunisto by Mila Turajlić and Skinning by Stevan Filipović. The Slovenian film Going Our Way by Miha Hočevar will screen as part of the Children's Film Programme.The are 20 films in the Short Films Programme that became competitive last year. Ten are by young female directors (Sonja Tarokić, Barbara Vekarić (2 films), Hana Jušić, Silva Ćapin, Kristina Vuković, Neda Radić (2), Ivana Škrabalo and Daina Oniunas Pusić), and ten by male directors (Jadran Puharić, Ivica Mušan, Neven Dužanec, Filip Mojzeš, David Kapac (2), Denis Lepur, Marko Stanić, Saša Dodik, Filip Šovagović and Josip Žuvan). Only two of the films have already been presented at the Days of Croatian Film. Most of the films tackle erotic themes and among them there is a group of short films produced by the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art and based on the short story by Tarik Kulenović entitled The Fucking Game that will be showcased together on the same night.
Following Pedro Almodóvar and Giuseppe Tornatore, the Pula Film Festival dedicates this year's retrospective in the set dedicated to renowned world film directors to American filmmaker James Ivory (Berkeley, California, 1928). The retrospective of this director of refined visual style, who has been working continuously and steadily for the last 58 years, and whose films are remembered for his detailed characters, perfectionist mizanscene and an impressive atmosphere, will include eleven films, representing his three most important phases of creation: the Indian, the British and the American phase. Together with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory founded the production company Merchant-Ivory in 1961. They were joined by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala as a screenwriter. James Ivory films won six Academy Awards and he won three Best Director nominations.
The films will be screened at the Valli Cinema, with the exception of White Countess that will be showcased at Kastel, but also in Rijeka and Dubrovnik. Large number of films from this section will be screened also in Zagreb at the Metropolis Art House of the Museum of Contemporary Art
Films from the Pula Film Festival will be screened at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Split Summer Festival this year once again. Films from the main section of the National Programme, as well as selected titles from the International Programme, will be showcased also as part of the Rijeka Summer Nights Festival and Bol Summer Festival. The Šibenik Summer Festival will select the films from the minority co-productions programme.
The slogan of the 58th Pula Film Festival is Film Under the Stars. The poster for the Festival has also been presented. The author of the photography is Duško Marušić-Čiči, and the author of visual identity Dražen Tomić (KADAR Studio, Pula). The National Programme of the 58th Festival will run July 16-23 in the Arena and it will be announced at a press conference after the Pula Film Festival Council meeting in the second half of June. The International Programme will run July 9 - 23 and it will comprise 20 films selected from the most prestigious world festivals (Venice, Cannes, Berlin, Rome, etc.) to have their Croatian premiere in Pula.
The 58th Pula Film Festival International Programme will screen a number of films selected from major international film festivals, as well as some of the most successful films from the region. From the Cannes Film Festival comes Olivier Assayas' crime thriller Carlos, winner of the Golden Globe award as a miniseries. In Pula we will have an opportunity to see the 165-minute version of the true story of the world's most notorious terrorist called Carlos, the Jackal. From the last year's Cannes Film Festival comes The Housemaid (Hanyo), a South Korean erotic thriller by Im Sang-soo.Venice brings us Trophy Wife (Potiche), a French family comedy by François Ozon, starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. Venice also brings us The Double Hour (La doppia ora) by Giuseppe Capotondi, starring Ksenia Rappaport, who also starred in Giuseppe Tornatore's The Unknown Woman. From the same festival also comes the German romantic drama Three (Drei) by Tom Tykwer (best known for his films Run Lola Run and Perfume) about a married couple who fall in love with the same person. Tilda Swinton stars in the Italian romantic drama I am Love (Io sono l'amore) by Luca Guadagnino, which also premiered in Venice.The American romantic drama Last Night by Massy Tadjedin, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes, opened the last year's Rome Film Festival. The Rome Film Festival also brings us the Italian thriller A Quiet Life (Una vita tranquilla) by Claudio Cupellini about an Italian crook whose quiet family life in Germany under a false identity is disturbed by the arrival of his son.Another film coming from Italy is a romantic drama about adultery Come Undone (Cosa voglio di piu) by Silvio Soldini (well-known for his film Bread & Tulips), which premiered at last year's Berlinale. The Toronto Film Festival brings us Casino Jack, a Canadian crime comedy by George Hickenlooper, based on a true story about Jack Abramoff, a well-known American lobbyist who ended up behind bars.
Serbia brings us the biggest blockbuster in that country - Montevideo - God Bless You! (Montevideo, Bog te video) by Dragan Bjelogrlić, centred on a Yugoslav football selection preparing for the football championship in Uruguay in 1930. That country brings us another blockbuster, the thriller Skinning (Šišanje) by Stevan Filipović, centred on the phenomenon of neonacism among young people, especially among football supporters.With this year's FEST critics' award and jury prize in hand comes the feature documentary film Mothers by Milcho Manchevski which screened at festivals in Toronto and Berlin. Slovenia brings us the winner of the Slovenian National Festival in Portorož Circus Fantasticus by Janez Burger, starring Leon Lučev.
The National Programme of the 58th Pula Film Festival will be held from 16 to 23 July 2011. The National Programme consists of Croatian feature films and minority cooproductions.We expect the following Croatian feature films supported by the Croatian Adioviusal Centre:1) Lea and Daria by Branko Ivanda2) Kotlovina by Tomislav Radic3) Koko and the Ghosts by Daniel Kusan4) The Little Gypsy Witch by Tomislav Zaja 5) Step by Step by Biljana Cakic-Veselicand several independent productions. Films shall be presented in the ancient Roman Arena, that can host up to 5000 spectators, and in the Cinema Valli, named after Pula born diva Alida Valli.The Festival shall also screen the best Croatian shorts, pay tribute to the winners of Croatian film awards for life achievements, but also present excerpts from Croatian feature-length films in production (Work in Progress).Pula Film Festival, founded in 1954, is the oldest and the most popular Croatian film festival (more then 73 000 spectators at the 57th edition).
Julie Taymor's version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest secured its place in
the cinema history due to innovation: the main character is now a woman
named Prospera. The helmer explained this twist in adaptation by a
simple fact: she couldn’t find a male performer who’d be comparable with
Helen Mirren. By the way the actress once mentioned that her first role
happened to be Prospero’s servant Caliban. It’s hard to imagine, that
refined Helen Mirren played this wild monster. Anyhow it was in her
school years, and on professional stage she stepped as Cleopatra, which
opened a long list of royal ladies who brought the actress a huge bunch
of awards including Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Her
professional career launched at the peak of the sexual revolution, when
manifested sexuality and naked bodies symbolized emancipation. Helen
didn’t mind to exploit sexuality, but always on her own terms. She
couldn’t be called a sex-bomb – thinness and ascetic face gained her
advantage as satisfying a new iconographic canon which replaced Merylin
Monroe’s hot trepidation with estranged ritual gesture of seduction. In
Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief His Wife & Her Lover she
played a posh woman with repressed by despotic husband sexuality, who
gained her dignity through love affair and sexual experience with a
suddenly met man, returning Georgina to life. “As you get older, naked
stuff gets easier”, - she says. 14 years later in Calendar Girls Helen
Mirren played some opposite type - a provincial housewife, provoking her
elderly friends to issue a calendar with their naked photos as
fund-raising for an ill husband. Helen Mirren’s creation is
closely bound up with Britain’s cinema often shocking bourgeois taste on
the one hand and tightly connected with the classical traditions, first
of all Shakesperian one, on the other. She also performed Shakespeare’s
contemporary – Queen Elizabeth I. “Now, - she remarks, - it’s time when
Russians play English queens”. The descendent of a Russian aristocrat,
born Ilyena Lydia Mironoff, she played queens a total of six times on
screen – to say nothing of stage. It might be noted that her trademark
is showing the royal grandeur without a trace of affected pompousness.
They say her portrayal of Elizabeth II increased the queen's
popularity; likewise countess Sofya Tolstoy recently performed by Helen
in The Last Station opened a new page in our understanding of life and
thought of the Russian genius. What is especially amazing in Helen
Mirren’s performance is depicting iron-hard characters of visibly
fragile, subtle women. This unique quality makes her strikingly forcible
in the action parts as an extremely dangerous member of a killing squad
in RED or a Mossad secret agent in John Madden’s The Debt, closing The
Moscow International.Nina Tsyrkun
First winners of the 33rd MIFF were announced on Saturday morning in "Khudozhestveny" cinema:”Viewers’
sympathy” award was given to “MONTEVIDEO, TASTE OF A DREAM”
(MONTEVIDEO, BOG TE VIDEO) by a Serbian director Dragan Bjelogrlic. FIPRESCI jury awarded a film by Alberto Morais “THE WAVES” (LAS OLAS). “Kommersant” magazine gave its prize to “HEART’S BOOMERANG” (SERDTSA BUMERANG) by Nikolay Khomeriki. For
the second time during the MIFF history NETPAC (The Network for the
Promotion of Asian Cinema) jury worked during the festival. The
Association gave its award to “REVENGE: A LOVE STORY” (FUK SAU CHE CHI
SEI) by Wong Ching Po. The film participated in Main Competition
program. Russian film critics gave first diploma to a Pole
Feliks Falk for his film “JOANNA”. Their second diploma was given to
“REVENGE: A LOVE STORY” (FUK SAU CHE CHI SEI).Cinema clubs prize
and diploma were given to a Bulgarian film “SNEAKERS” (KECOVE) by Ivan
Vladimirov and Valeri Yordanov and CHAPITEAU-SHOW by Sergei LobanCinema clubs Special diploma was given to “JOANNA” Cinema
clubs awarded “UNDERCURRENT” (BRIM) by Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson from
Perspectives and “ELENA” by Andrei Zvyagintsev presented in Russian
program.Special diploma of Cinema clubs was given to “SNOWCHILD” by Uta Arning
CompetitionDir. Wong Ching PoThe viewer who is at least
superficially familiar with Asian cinema of the past decade will have no
difficulty in taking the movie into its constituent parts which he has
already seen elsewhere. The lovers – she is, to put it plainly, nuts,
and to put it poetically, God’s fool, and he is a silent pauper – enjoy
their toy festivities of love, merry-go-rounds, garlands of lanterns and
toy pandas. Self-mutilation (of which peeling the skin from one’s
fingers is the most innocuous) is abundantly offered by the most famous
directors. Police stories with shoot-outs and chases along green slopes
shot with spectacular slow-motion and fade-outs constitute Asian
cinematic know-how. The movie is divided into five chapters persistently
using the words “Devil” and “Armageddon” in their titles. It makes use
of detective narration, so it is not fare to divulge the plot.“Revenge”
is constructed in such a way that it is not possible to make it sound
interesting without disclosing its plot twists. And still you might get
the desire to see the film, taking into account that it has been quite
some time since the screen emanated such fury defending the little,
frail, lost world of someone who cannot assimilate in society. And still
if nobody interferes with him, he has the strength to stand on his own
two feet, to feel happiness and face the world of harsh omnipresent and
lawful violence, which is the equivalent of any known social
conglomerates or institutions. This fury outpours into the sweetest
images of revenge: pour petrol into the throat, fire into the mouth and
watch your enemy burn from within. Were there ever more complete,
thirst-quenching punishments of self-confident injustice on screen?The
plot of the movie was invented by the 27-year-old son of a Hong-Kong
multimillionaire Juno Mak. From Wikipedia we can learn that at school he
used to fall behind in all subjects from mathematics to physical
education, had to retake the year’s course three times, squandered a
million of father’s dollars on a house which he bought for his first
girlfriend and that his singing career was accompanied by scandals, that
he gets top listing in charts allegedly because his father buys out al
his recordings and at Juno’s concerts he bribes the entire crowd so that
they pretend to be his fans. When Juno acts he seems to explode. And it
is so nice that there are people among the rich who look upon their
situation as an exceptional one and do not consider themselves part of
the horde of the chosen few. That they are ready and prepared to express
the fury which the hangdog crowd cannot even feel, but which it is
necessary to feel and pass on like a relay torch.Alexey Vasiliev
American TranslationCOMPETITON Dir. Pascal Arnold, Jean-Marc Barr A
youth named Chris drives across France in a van, in which he also lives
and sleeps, changing his only two shirts. But those are real party slim
line shirts, one is yellow with red and blue flowers, the other is
brown with cream stripes. He also suffers from the sweaty smell in his
armpits when he happens to strangle someone in the forest. He would
rather walk naked, which he gladly does, when the daughter of a wealthy
American lets him stay in her apartment after a night of love. Gradually
he will disclose and present to her all the constituents of his life:
bisexual porn, group sex, laying gay guys and murders. In return he will
ask her to marry him and teach him American. He does not understand the
lyrics in those energetic songs of revolt and freedom he listens to in
his car.In the post-war French art the image of America as a
road along which two young lovers are speeding, loving each other until
the police do part them, is even more frequent than in America itself.
“L'horloger d'Everton” is just about it and also about America. It was
written by Georges Simenon in 1954, 13 years earlier than the American
movie “Bonnie and Clyde” and even earlier than the appearance of James
Dean. Moreover, it was transferred onto the French rural road in
Tavernier’s “L'horloger de Saint-Paul” 20 years after the publication of
the novel. The existential awakening experienced by Chris during
murders and seductions, which appears again and again in the closing
quotes from the studies on the psychology of serial killers, is that
very crocodile tail, which cuts him off from the rest of the world, and
which the sailor Querelle so happily felt each time he yielded to guys
or cut their throats in the 1947 novel by Genet.The actor
Jean-Marc Barr to whom we owe probably the most beautiful male character
of the 80s – the deep-sea diver Jacques Mayol in Besson’s “Le grand
bleu”, turned to directing on the eve of the Millennium. In
collaboration with Pascal Arnold they shot a trilogy about the
impossibility of freedom in France (“Lovers”), the USA (“Too Much
Flesh”) and India (“Being Light”). They adhered to the “Dogma” technique
and worked as artisans, meaning that Arnold wrote scripts, Barr
video-recorded and edited and the actors were often mingled with the
usual crowd. In their new movie, however provocative it may seem, they
are not free of traditions as authors. The 26-year-old Pierre Perrier
(«Douches froides», «Plein sud») as the protagonist is equally bound by
the image of the eternal naked troubadour of sexual ambivalence. He was
evidently accepted into the cartel after playing in Barr and Arnold’s
“Chacun sa nuit”. In the new film Perrier did not only play the lead but
also helped with the make-up and casting. And there is
something else. If something merits to become a tradition, it is exactly
what the tradition cannot accept. i.e. the search for the route to
freedom through the discovery of the points of freedom in the
self-awareness of every unique and inimitable individual. This process
is endless and to it the filmmakers made their contribution.Alexey Vasiliev
Anarchy in Zirmunai (Anarchija Zirmunuose) PERSPECTIVESDir. Saulius Drunga The
detective-like plot development is what fuels our interest in the
movie, the title of which includes the word “anarchy” and the name of
the dormitory district in Vilnius dating back to the late Soviet period.
On the soundtrack we hear the phrase “Lithuanian mess” at least a
couple of dozens of times. It is the only way to force outsiders to look
into something they generally don’t want to hear about: mysteries,
closed societies (which we are promised to be led into), hazards on the
way to uncovering as yet unseen mechanisms. Everybody likes that. In
the opening sequence we see a frail youth with a big head on a thin
neck photographed from behind. He is wearing a heavy spiked bracelet on
his thin wrist. He runs up a few flights of stairs, rings a bell,
demands rent from a young tenant. When it turns out that she can’t pay,
she gets a blow between the eyes and we get the opening titles against
the black background.Next it is a hot summer day. We are in a
sleepy suburban train heading to Vilnius through bucolic Lithuanian
landscapes as we listen to the chatter of girls from the provinces and
farms. The word “anarchy” is heard. One of the girls draws the menacing
encircled “A” on the newspaper margins. The blond Ville, fed on fresh
milk, stares at the “A”. She has cut off her tress and intends to enter
the pedagogical institute in the capital. Her bag is filled with cans
with mother’s jam and in solving the Zirmunuose mystery the letter “A”
is our Miss Marple. If the detective-like structure is the locomotive,
the actress Toma Vaskeviciute is the anchor of the movie. She is
reminiscent of the young Di Caprio of the times of “This Boy's Life” and
“What's Eating Gilbert Grape” not only in appearance. With her ironic
squint and studied absent-minded look on her pretty face she signals the
mental processes going on in the involuntary detective’s head and gives
a wink to the viewer that now is the time to put two and two together.
It goes without saying that Ville will rent that very flat, that the
youngster will turn out to be a fidgety girl called Sandra who looks and
behaves like a starved Annette Bening if the latter were to experience
the tribulations of her characters from “In Dreams” “Hostage” and
“American Beauty” all at once. Sandra will gradually let Ville on to the
secrets of “Anarchy”, one of which is (straight from “Five Orange
Pips”) the presence of one or more letters “a” in the spelling of the
name, which lets you become a member of “Anarchy” and live under its
protection.I don’t feel like giving away the detective pot, but
it is important to note that the peasant Ville will delve into the study
of the subject deeper than she would have liked to, or than could have
been imagined by girls and boys stitching the capital letter “A” on
their jackets. She will go the Institute library and soon her flat will
be filled not only with the guns and dollars stored by “Anarchy”
members, but with copies of Che Gevara’s posters and Bakunin’s writings.
The anarchy in Zirmunae will show its true wimpy face of deeply hurt
children with too many hang-ups. Ville will watch it complete the circle
– like a snake biting its own tale – with a mop in “McBurger’s”. Ville
alone will learn what real anarchy is. A movie about the Lithuanian mess
will turn out to be a familiar maxim relevant in any country and at any
time that “knowledge is power”. That basic education and probably a
pair of Ville’s sturdy peasant legs are necessary for a noble revolt
instead of ridiculous outbreaks of hysterical misbehavior. And besides
it also requires – as the movie will prove – at least one can of
mother’s real home-made jam.Alexey Vasiliev
PerspectivesDir. Árni Ólafur ÁsgeirssonIt is rewarding to
observe that the invigorating winds of political correctness have
penetrated the territories which were earlier off limits to them. Like,
for example, a frail Icelandic fishing vessel where the sturdy crew
should be sure that a woman on board forebodes trouble. But far from it,
the gloomy Icelandic fishermen do not throw the newly arrived lady into
the first wave, like their less reserved colleagues would probably do.
Moreover, when the skipper of the rusty boat bearing the dramatic name
«Undercurrent», decides to replace one of the crew, who tragically left
them during an earlier expedition, with his troubled niece, they do not
show any particularly emotional reaction. Though, as this hot pussy
avows, she has slept with half the village before boarding the ship. It
is not quite that the presence of a woman strains the complicated (as it
inevitably transpires) relations in the fishing crew, which gradually
succumbs to claustrophobia and loneliness. The employee of the
department of fish scraping toils as hard as men do and in the evenings
stares at the TV set watching the porn blockbuster «Sperminator», kept
on board as a preventive measure. The woman as a representative of a
different world and a different life is not so much a catalyst as an
observer of the disintegration of the male circle. Then misfortune
really strikes: lights go out, some one gets hurt, some one else chooses
to become fish fodder. But on the whole, the woman has nothing to do
with it. The best parts of the movie are the inspiring shots of
the rusty boat swaying on the waves, the atmospheric scenes from the
fishermen’s everyday life, contrastive night shots of the flock of
sea-gulls vainly hovering over the torn net which is no longer suitable
for catching fish and the transparent daytime shots of the same
sea-gulls who are allowed to feed on fish insides. The colors of this
exotic spectacle are a pleasure to look at. It must be noted that color
patches in this movie are more interesting than the dramatic structure
(the group scriptwriter of the film are members of the Reykjavík theatre
company Vestuport, who also act in the movie) with flashbacks inserted
in the wrong places and seemingly normal characters performing
unmotivated antics.Stas Tyrkin
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