Lithuania Cinema

Demography and economic geography. – Northern European state. The territory of Lithuania is divided into 10 counties, 60 municipalities and about 500 seniūnija. In each county resided a governor sent by the central state and not elected by the citizens, but on 1 July 2010 the administrations of the counties were abolished, now remained as mere territorial and statistical units, essentially concentrating local political power in the 60 municipalities. At the last census in 2011, the Lithuania counted 3,043,429 residents, which became 3,008,287 in 2014, according to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). Since the beginning of the 21st century. the population has dropped by almost half a million units, due to a low birth rate and consistent emigration. The Lithuanian diaspora has about 1.5 million people, mainly concentrated in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, Canada and Brazil. For over a decade, the Lithuania has been animated by discussions on the status of Lithuanians abroad, but a law adopted on 2 December 2010 confirmed the refusal to grant dual nationality to the vast majority of them.

Since joining the EU in 2004 to the outbreak of the global crisis, Lithuania has seen continuous economic growth linked to the competitiveness of local labor, banking deregulation and the arrival of European funds. From 2008 onwards, the crisis has hit the country hard, which in the perspective of a future entry into the eurozone has responded with a 3-point increase in VAT, an increase in excise duties and an average decrease in pensions and salaries. by about 15%, while trying not to increase taxes on businesses so as not to destroy the economy that had recently recovered. The efforts were rewarded and on 25 September 2014, the President of the ECB Mario Draghi, on a visit to the country, confirmed the entry of Lithuania into the eurozone starting from 1 January 2015. Membership of the single currency remains controversial in Lithuanian public opinion, but many see the possibility that part of the diaspora will return to the motherland and that there is greater protection from Russian interference in the country’s economy. Lithuania has about 6% of Russian speakers and relations with the big neighbor remain both important and delicate. In 2007, Moscow closed the Druzba pipeline, which fed the Mazeikiai refinery, in a sort of ill-concealed retaliation for the sale of the refinery itself to a Polish company. The closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which took place in 2009 and wanted by the EU as it is of the same type as Chernobyl ′, has then strengthened the dependence on Russia, which ensures two thirds of all the country’s primary energy supply.

History. – The center-left led by Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas was defeated in the legislative elections of 12-26 October 2008, in which a center-right coalition formed by Union of the Fatherland-Christian Democrats of Lithuania (TS-LKD), National Revival Party (TPP) was established), Liberal and Center Union (LiCS) and Liberal Movement of the Republic of Lithuania (LRLS). The government was entrusted to Andrius Kubilius, former prime minister in 1999-2000. Starting from 2009, the Lithuania launched a series of strong austerity measures to address the difficult socio-economic situation conditioned by the collapse of the GDP and a shattering peak in unemployment which in the second quarter of 2010 reached 18.3%.

The presidential elections of 17 May 2009 were won – with 69.1% of the votes – by the independent candidate and former European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaitė. The austerity had strong political repercussions and, in 2010, excessive defections in the Kubilius government reduced the parliamentary majority to just 69 seats, necessitating external support from the People’s Union of Peasants of Lithuania (LVLS). In March 2012 Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis resigned and a government crisis was averted.

Despite the government having raised the minimum wage by 6.3%, public opinion seemed to reject the government’s austerity plan and expressed its dissatisfaction in the parliamentary elections of October 14-28, 2012, which saw the affirmation of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (LSPD). Their leader Algirdas Butkevičius became prime minister by forming a coalition with the Party of Labor (DP), Order and Justice (TT) and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (LLRA). On 11 May 2014, President Grybauskaitė was reconfirmed with 59.1% of the vote.

Lithuania stepped up its European commitment, ratifying the Lisbon Treaty in May 2008, decommissioning the second reactor of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in December 2009 – as foreseen in the accession agreements – and honoring its financial commitments. In July 2013, Lithuania was the first Baltic country to take over the presidency of the EU and from 1 January 2015 it adopted the euro. Relations with Russia remained tighter, given Vilnius’ commitment to intensifying NATO’s presence and the anti-Russian position taken after the 2014 Ukrainian crisis.

Cinema. – Lithuanian cinematography was officially born in 1991, with the newfound independence of the three Baltic republics from the Soviet Union. Directors of documentaries and fictional films, no longer conditioned by Soviet ideology, despite the lack of means, have given life to an extremely personal cinema, characterized by a profound sense of nature, by the participatory observation of things, the passing of time that is observed in the changes of the landscape. For Lithuania 2011, please check

However, one cannot speak of Lithuanian cinema without mentioning the rich corpus of works carried out during the occupation. If, in fact, almost nothing is left of the films produced before 1940, many and of great value are those shot by the directors who paradoxically trained in the lesson of Soviet realism in Moscow and Leningrad, who ‘founded’ what in a decade would be became the long season of the ‘poetic documentary’. Directors such as Robertas Verba, Almantas Grikevicius, Algis Araminas and Henrikas Sablevicius managed to overcome censorship and to tell their country in the most authentic and sophisticated way possible, adopting a double register made up of visual associations, a refined use of light and shadow that they show what was impossible to say. Real challenges against time, space and stillness: Šimtamečių godos (1969, Dreams of centenarians) and Pasaulį vaizduojuos kaip didelę simfonijąMKČiurlionis (1975, The world as a great symphony… MK Ciurlionis) by Verba, or Muzikinis kaleidscopas (1965, Musical kaleidoscopic), Apolinaras (1973) by Sablevicius.

A precious feeling of continuity animated the contemporary Lithuanian directors who, with more freedom, were able to open their gaze to the memory and reconstruction of a past not yet elaborated and unequal. The founding poetic and aesthetic emergencies are therefore mixed with the revelation of memory. The present and the past describe the state of affairs of society, but, above all, they reveal a more dense, spiritual and contemplative vision. Many directors who have earned an international reputation starting with Sharunas Bartas, with his films of abstract poetry that linger in a form of non-narrative that is gradually more and more rarefied and distant from the representation of the world we are used to: Trys dienos (1992), Koridorius (1995, known as The corridor), Few of us (1996; Far from God and men), At home (1997), Freedom (2000), Septyni nematomi zmones (2005, Seven invisible men), Indigène d ‘ Eurasie (2010). As part of the documentary Audrius Stonys and Arunas Matelis are invited to festivals around the world and have won prestigious awards with films such as Pries parskrendant i zeme (2005, Before returning to Earth) by Matelis and Uku ukai (2006), Varpas ( 2007, The Bell) and Ramin (2011) by Stonys.

Directors such as Kristina Buozyte and her Kolekcioniere (2008, Collettore), Gytis Luksas, author of Duburys (2009, La fossa), and Julius Ziz, director of the short film Vilkas (2008, Il lupo) made from a story deserve a mention. by the refugee master of Lithuanian cinema Jonas Mekas, who returned to his homeland in 2008 to direct Lithuania and the collapse of the USSR.

Lithuania Cinema