Džiugas Matulevičius | The Lithuania Tribune
Kino Pavasaris is beginning! Vilnius International Film Festival, the single biggest cinematic event of the year is once again upon us, and all of the cinema buffs in Vilnius are drooling. Like every year, this is our chance to see some of the smaller, more critically acclaimed films which may otherwise not have theatrical releases on the big screen.
This year’s festival is the 17th edition, which is respectable by any standards. Just like every other year, it’s growing. This year the festival will offer over 200 films to choose from, and having gone over the entire list, I must say there is something for nearly everyone.
The Competition portion of the festival, entitled “New Europe – New Names”, is one of the most significant in Eastern Europe, and with the caliber of the films in the program, the esteemed international jury will have their work cut out for them in picking a winner.
The “Horizon” program, however, is where I would urge viewers to concentrate most of their attention. There, you have all genres, various countries, truly something for all lovers of cinema to feast their eyes on. The vast quantity, and quality, of the films in the program is so enormous, it would seem fruitless to start naming naming notables, as one would come up with a list of some thirty films.
Perhaps this is a personal bias, but it appears that the science-fiction films stand out this year as being represented quite well. The Gerber Syndrome, Eve, Dimensions, Transfer, and the representative of the American Independents program, Another Earth, all offer fantastical premises that appear to be executed intelligently and with thought, rather than for mere special effects.
The other members of the American Independents program are also, all notable. 50/50 is very sensitive and funny without being weepy or silly. Martha Marcy May Marlene is probably the psychological thriller to see this festival season.
The year’s Lithuanian films are presented at the festival as well, naturally, and if for whatever reason one has not yet had the chance to see Tadas Blinda. A Legend Is Born or Fortress of the Sleeping Butterflies yet, this will probably be their last shot at catching these at the cinema. One shouldn’t limit themselves to the better-known films of the year in this category, either, however – UB Lama promises to be a fascinating documentary, and the 20 min. long Across Europe in a Paperboat promises an exciting, real-life adventure.
Finally, for the fans of documentary film, I would recommend watching out for This Is Not a Film, from Iran – a film about a director being banned from making cinema. The very fact that the movie is being shown at a film festival anywhere at all is a victory for film fans, so it seems appropriate to support it.
The Masters program should satisfy even the most selective of film viewers, with films directed by Cronenberg, Leigh, Winterbottom, and Kim Ki-Duk being represented. The fans of more extreme cinema, on the other hand, will probably be drawn to the midnight screenings of the other South Korean master’s latest offering – Kim Jee-woon’s I Saw the Devil.
Naturally, what I have so far mentioned are mere highlights for me – the sheer volume of films to see is staggering. Which is why, throughout the festival, I will attempt to guide the readers of Lithuania Tribune by offering constant updates on films to see. The weeks to come will be very exciting, so try and get some sleep before the festival begins this Thursday. There won’t be much time for that for a few weeks after.