VILINUS - Lithuanian film took a great 's if somewhat controversial 's leap forward this month with the much-anticipated premiere of director Algimantas Puipa's work "Whisper of Sin." The film, based on books written by the country's respected and recently deceased author Jurga Ivanauskate (see related article page 16), gained considerable attention even before its first screening because one of the books it's based on was banned in the 1990s by the Catholic Church, who consider it pornographic.
"Whisper of Sin" tells the story of a young woman, Vika, who falls in love with a priest she meets at a mental hospital where her husband Go is being treated for schizophrenia. Her affair ends with the priest leaving her, prompting Vika to start seeing a psychologist in an attempt to forget the man.
The film is a mix of real life, visions, dreams and desires. It looks at what happens to the two women, Vika and her psychologist Rita, who share a special bond.
Curiously, the film's church scenes had to be filmed in the St. Kotryna Church, which belongs to the municipality of Vilnius, as the Catholic Church did not want them filmed in any of their working churches.
Those who have seen previous films by Algimantas Puipa won't be surprised that there are some fairly explicit scenes in the "Whisper of Sin," which is why children below 16 are not allowed to the screenings. However, it's not these scenes or the scandalous prehistory of the film that make it interesting. The compelling part of the film is that you never know what will happen next. You are not sure if what you're seeing is a character's imagined vision, or if it's a scene from the reality of their lives. It is also fun to watch how humor finds its place in the film. There's not much of it, but what there is dilutes the film's otherwise deliberately shabby interiors and melancholy colors.
Sadly, the film won't be subtitled in English until a later, international release, but those whose Lithuanian is up to scratch can visit www.forumcinemas.lt for information on screen times.