12-10-2009

Stasys Eidrigevičius to meet Kaunas Film Festival audience

"Wake up, Stasys! Bouzkachi is about to start!" this is how Bouzkachi: The Chant of Steppes, the film of Kaunas International Film Festival starring the world famous Lithuanian painter Stasys Eidrigevičius, begins. In a few days, cineastes and fans of the Lithuanian artist residing in Poland will have an opportunity to address him directly, because he and the filmmaker Jacques Debs will in person introduce their film Bouzkachi: The Chant of Steppes in Kaunas and Vilnius on October 10-12.

"It is a story of love told through poetry, fine art and film. The film shot in France and Uzbekistan is a skilfully woven fabric of documentary, mythology, acting and fairytale. Although Stasys Eidrigevičius plays himself as an artist, his role sort of creates a distance from the documentary - he witnesses the violent traditional Uzbek game called bouzkachi by painting the portraits of the participants of the game and creating a set for the game action. Eidrigevičius' role and his works of art surrender to the filmmaker's inspiration, while the quotes from the love poems written by the famous 14th century Persian poet Hafez turn the story into a mystical fairy tale of the steppes," Ilona Jurkonytė, director of the Kaunas Film Festival, describes the film shot in 2009.

Sunday night, Bouzkachi: The Chant of Steppes, included in the festival's programme section All the Muses, will end the festival in Kaunas and will open it in Vilnius the next day.

The plotline of Bouzkachi: The Chant of Steppes builds on a love triangle. Mohabat likes two men but she can not make the right choice and decides to marry the one who wins the bouzkachi contest. A poet and an artist have to cross mountains and steppes to engage in a noisy and dusty contest of horsemen in order to gain the hand and the heart of the beautiful Mohabat. The rules of the traditional Oriental game called bouzkachi are strict - a team of riders has to get the headless carcass of a ram clear of the other players to win the contest.

For 40 days Eidrigevičius painted the version of the old Persian love story for the film. The painter's canvases open and close parts of the film similarly to the illustrations of book sections. Film creatively blends with the recognisable Eidrigevičius' touch.

Kaunas Film Festival's programme sections All the Muses has been introduced for the first time this year and includes 9 films about art and artists, the purpose of art, the sweets and bitters of the creative process as well as the relationship between film and other arts.

The festival which is organised in Kaunas and Vilnius for the third time has prepared four programmes - Wide Angle, All the Muses, Music Moves the World, and Nordic Sounds in Film - with more than 30 films and 80 screenings. The screenings of the festival will take place in "Romuva" film theatre in Kaunas until October 11, and will move to "Pasaka" cinema in Vilnius for October 11-18.

Stasys Eidrigevičius, a graphic designer, was born in Mediniškiai, Lithuania, in 1949 and lives in Poland since 1980. Eidrigevičius is versatile artist: he illustrates books, takes pictures, draws posters, makes installations, etc. The artist has been awarded multiple times for book illustrations, graphic design and poster art in Poland, Spain, Finland, Japan and other countries.

Jacques Debs is a French filmmaker, writer and film producer. He works with French TV channels and has shot almost 100 documentaries screened in international festivals all over the world. The filmmaker takes interest in the periphery of the Western civilisation: regions and cultures that challenge our perceptions and question our values.

Bouzkachi: The Chant of Steppes screenings followed by the meetings with filmmaker Jaques Debs and Stasys Eidrigevičius will take place on:

October 10, Saturday, 9.00 pm in "Romuva" film theatre, Kaunas

October 11, Sunday, 8.00 pm in "Romuva" film theatre, Kaunas

October 12, Monday, 6.00 pm in "Pasaka" film theatre, Vilnius

Full programme of the festival can be found at www.kinofestivalis.lt.