Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Highly acclaimed in Lithuania this Maris Martinsons film became not only the first movie to win awards in a major film festival but also is the first Lithuanian film ever to be submitted for an Oscar and has the cinema quality to deserve the accomplishments; but I found the style not really engaging and you’ll need a lot of patience to finally unravel the web that is tied with a non-sequential storytelling and with sometimes dizzy spell of the handheld camera. But if you sustain watching up to perhaps half the movie, what comes and the end -when all the puzzle pieces find their place- are satisfying and probably you will do as me, that in my head replayed the movie and only then I enjoyed the story.
According to what I read the movie is inspired in the six degrees of separation theory and tells about how one accident in the past changes the lives of the four main characters that without knowing it and when older, all four get to meet each other in life changing experiences. But actually is about what the title literal translation means “Unnecessary People” as deals with emigration, child adoption, mentally ill, disabled people and children from orphanages.
What really helps to keep on watching is extraordinary cinematography with grayish and grainy atmosphere given by the transfer from Super 16 to 35mm, plus some excellent framing for many outdoor scenes. I just wished that the editing had allowed faster understanding of the narrative to be able to enjoy more the story and actors’ performances.
The movie won two Golden Goblets’ at the 2008 Shanghai International Film Festival, one for Best Director and another for Best Music and has been traveling the international film fest circuit. Definitively not for all audiences, but I believe is best suited for those that enjoy Northern Europe cinema, as somehow I personally found the movie related to the style (without the non-sequential narrative) of some Finnish filmmakers.