The 11th edition of the LITAUISCHES KINO GOES BERLIN film festival will take place between November 3rd-7th, 2021. Adapted to the current safety regulations, the festival presents the best short and feature films from Lithuania to the Berlin audience at Sputnik Kino and Acud Kino, including new productions as well as festival highlights and renowed classics. This year the programme will also include a lecture with a focus on female perspectives in Lithuanian cinema and a photo exhibition on cinema culture in Lithuania.

FESTIVAL PEARLS: Current Lithuanian cinema

As part of the FESTIVAL PEARLS programme, the festival presents current Lithuanian cinema and festival hits from recent years. With ISAAC (2019), director Jurgis Matulevičius shows a film about guilt, friendship, love and self-liberation in the complex context of the Holocaust and the Soviet post-war period in Lithuania: In 1941 the Lithuanian activist Andrius Gluosnis kills the Jew Isaac during the massacre in the garages of Lietukis. Years later, in Soviet Lithuania, his friend, the film director Gutauskas, returns from the USA with a script for a film that tells in detail the murders and the situation in which Isaac is killed. It becomes evidence of a KGB investigation into the events of 1941. Gutauskas becomes the prime suspect. While preparing for the film, Gluosnis ’life collapses – plagued by guilt, he realizes that he must make peace with the victim. In 2020, ISAAC was among the nominees for the “Prix FIPRESCI” for best debut film at the European Film Awards.

In THE JUMP (2020), director Giedrė Žickytė first takes us to the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, where in November 1970 an American patrol boat awaits a Soviet ship to negotiate the fishing rights of both nations. During the meeting, the unexpected happened when the Lithuanian radio operator Simas Kudirka jumped on deck of the American ship and asked for asylum. Contrary to his hope of freedom, the Americans hand him back to the Soviet officers, and Kudirka is convicted of country treason. The failed escape develops into a media phenomenon and causes a bitter political fight that pays off in the end: Kudirka is allowed to enter the USA. Using archive material, contemporary witness reports and Kudirka himself, the audience experiences the personal journey of a man who has never given up hope for justice. THE JUMP has won numerous awards since its premiere in autumn 2020, including the award for best documentary at the Warsaw International Film Festival (Poland) and audience awards at DOC NYC (USA) or DocVille (Belgium).

GENTLE WARRIORS (2020) by Marija Stonyté can also be seen in the program. The documentary follows three young women who volunteer for military service after male drafting is reintroduced in Lithuania in response to possible threats from neighboring Russia. The girls live and train with 600 men on a remote military base for 9 months. The protagonists are accompanied in their civil life as well as in their military combat roles. The result is complex and multifaceted portraits of young women who follow their own will.

In the coming-of-age drama THE CASTLE (2020), Lina Luzyte tells the story of Monika, a 13-year-old Lithuanian girl who recently moved to Dublin with her mother and her grandmother with dementia. A passionate singer, Monika urges her mother – a professional pianist – to keep playing with her. But she now works in a fish factory to pay the bills. When the two are invited to play at “The Castle”, Monika’s mother refuses and does not want to give her the 120 euros she needs to rent a keyboard. With the decision to reach her goal, the desperate Monika kidnaps her own grandma and demands the ransom from her mother.