Once you have seen the work of a few Lithuanian directors you will be able to recognise what Lithuanian cinema is all about. Lithuanian cinema often differs from others because it looks deep into the human soul, but it’s not averse to the gentle ironic smile. For many decades, Vytautas Žalakevičius (Nobody Wanted to Die, Beast rising from the sea, and others.), Algimantas Puipa (Necklace of Wolf Teeth, Elze’s Life, Whisper of Sin, among others.), and their contemporaries reigned on the Lithuanian cinema scene.
The work of the new generation of filmmakers is quite different from those of their predecessors, but are nevertheless recognised internationally. The film director Arūnas Matelis’s documentary Before Flying Back to Earth, about children suffering from cancer who receive lessons of love, faith and strength in hospital, received awards at the Silverdocs and Brooklyn festivals and from the prestigious Guild of American Directors. It also received awards at the Amsterdam, Madrid and Leipzig festivals. Photo: A. Aleksandravičiaus.
Jonas Mekas’s name is internationally famous. In 1964, this Lithuanian-born filmmaker, who was living and working in New York, founded ‘The Filmmakers’ and Cinemathèque’, which gradually developed into the ‘Anthology Film Archives’, one of the leading American avant-garde film archives in the world. You can find The Jonas Mekas Visual Art Centre in Vilnius. Lithuania, with its charming natural landscape and impressive townscapes and with many hard-working, high-quality professionals, attracts many foreign filmmakers. For example, the film Siberian Education, made by the Italian director, Gabriele Salvatoreso, and starring John Malkovich, was filmed in the streets of Vilnius.