Monika Gimbutaitė. In Focus: Women in Documentaries

Women breaking stereotypes. Women fostering close relations. Women who seek, create, fight, observe the world and are constantly observed by it. 

In the programme of six feature - length documentaries included in the sinemateka.lt platform, various portraits of women are revealed: their differing social roles, different representation strategies. The programme presents the experimental anthropological film Portraits of Ourselves (Lith. Mūsų portretai, 1994) by Karla Gruodis and Laima Kiškūnė, which looks at women from the perspective of other young women. The film Julia (2012) by Johanna Jackie Baier focuses on the life of a transsexual from Klaipėda working as a prostitute. Two complex family – and also directors’ personal – portraits are depicted in Lida, Vanda, Liusia (2014) by Julija Zubavičienė and Liebe Oma, Guten Tag! (Lith. Močiute, Guten Tag!, 2017) by Vilma Samulionytė and Jūratė Samulionytė. Finally, the stories of creative work of women artists are captured in the films I am Katya Golubeva (Lith. Aš esu Katia Golubeva, 2016) by Natalija Ju and Nijolė (2018) by Sandro Bozzolo.

The programme, which is based on the first book on feminist film studies in the Lithuanian language, i.e. the collection In Focus: Women in Lithuanian Cinema (Lith. Fokuse: moterys Lietuvos kine, printed by the publishing house LAPAS) edited by Natalija Arlauskaitė and Lina Kaminskaitė, poses a question – what kind of woman do Lithuanian documentaries turn to and how do Lithuanian documentaries speak of women following the restoration of independence?

The programme “In Focus: Women in Documentaries” was organised in cooperation with the publishing house LAPAS, Meno avilys, Lithuanian Shorts and LRT. Programme screening was supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre.

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė. Whose Voice is This?

The short Lithuanian documentaries restored by Meno Avilys and presented in this programme cover a wide range of topics and diverse cinematic techniques. The programme features three films, in which the authors look at and listen to injured people and animals, exploiting the camera as an engine for empathy. The voice in the background transforms from informative to exaltedly poetic, ultimately becoming quiet and gentle.

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, born in Lithuania in 1983, works as a filmmaker and theatre director. She explores the tension between documentary and fiction, performing and being, filming and seeing. Her recent collaborations include the documentary Acid Forest, the opera Have a Good Day!, and the installation Sun and Sea.

 

Gerda Paliušytė. “Portraits of Ourselves”

The programme presents four diary-like documentary video works centred around fragments from the daily life of their creators. The moments captured in these films are not only melancholic but also surreal, emerging from the specific atmosphere and time of the city where they were documented. Alongside the experimental video works, the programme features "Portraits of Ourselves" (1994), an anthropological film by Laimė Kiškūnaitė and Karla Gruodis. The film was made together with the students of the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute who participated in Gruodis’s seminar on feminist theory. "Portraits of Ourselves" are video portraits filmed by the students, presenting not themselves but women that they found interesting, including writer Zita Čepaitė and teenage girls from special care homes in Vilnius. Some of the films selected for the programme were created a little later than the usual early Lithuanian video art but were chosen because of the media in which they were created (DVD, VHS, or cine film) or the themes they explore, associated with the early video art period.

Gerda Paliušyte (b. 1987) is a Vilnius-based artist and curator. Her films tend to engage with a range of cultural agents, including historical and popular characters, focusing on the ways they modify the cultural landscape of specific places. Since 2018 Paliušyte has belonged to the artist collective Montos Tattoo.

Aistė Žegulytė. Urban and Human Time.

Three Lithuanian cinematic documents. Three filmmakers developing the dialogue about urban, nature and human time. Time Passes through the City (Lith. Laikas eina per miestą) by Almantas Grikevičius is one of the most exceptional experiments of Lithuanian film and photography reminiscent in its form of the classic film Le Jetee by Chris Marker. The etude Reflections (Lith. "Atspindžiai") by Henrikas Šablevičius is an abstract and highly personal meditation on the path of life as well as the meaning of being. Slowly falling Autumn Snow (Lith. "Rudens sniegas") by Vladas Navasaitis reminds us of a never-ending and eternal flow of time; the flow that has also become the central pivot of the programme.

The program is curated by film director Aistė Žegulytė, who is working with documentaries for over ten years. Her first feature-length documentary Animus Animalis premiered at the prestigious International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. Currently, the director is focusing on her new documentary Biodestructors.