Cinema Spring comes to Vilnius

  • 2010-03-17
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

CONSEQUENCES OF VEGETARIANISM: Ominous dreams drive a young woman, the main hero of the South Korean film “Vegetarian,” to abolish meat from her diet and reject her husband, who smells of meat. Her mysterious trauma ignites creativity and desire in her brother-in-law, who is a body-painting artist. The film, full of beautiful and perverse sex scenes, will probably be the main sensation of the Cinema Spring festival, and the film’s director, Lim Woo-Seong, has the potential to become a global megastar, according to the critics.

VILNIUS - The 15th Vilnius International Film Festival Kino Pavasaris (“Cinema Spring” in Lithuanian) promises fifteen days of good movies starting March 18 and running through April 2. The festival films will be shown in the three movie theaters of Vilnius: Forum Cinemas Vingis, Skalvija and Pasaka. More than 100 films from 50 countries, including such countries as Vietnam, Palestine and Iran, will be shown.

Fans of the highest-quality cinema have an opportunity to watch the winners of “The Golden Palm” in Cannes, “The Golden Bear” in Berlin, “The Golden Shell” in San Sebastian and “The Golden Leopard” in Locarno during the Cinema Spring festivals.
This year, big interest is raised by the movie Precious, by African-American director Lee Daniels. The film, based on the novel Push, by Sapphire, received six Oscar nominations. Famous pop singers Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz are cast as actors in the movie. The film’s main hero, overweight African-American teenager Precious Jones (actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe), is pregnant with her father’s child for the second time. She cannot read or write and her schoolmates tease her for being fat. Her home life is a horror: she is ruled by a mother who keeps terrorizing her, emotionally and physically. This year’s Oscar in the category of best supporting actress went to Mo’nique, who played Precious’ mother in this film. Precious also received this year’s Oscar for the best adapted screenplay.

“This year’s Cinema Spring shows the newest tendency of cinema: feature movies and documentary films become similar because they show everyday life in a very realist manner. Films are dominated by themes of ecology, loneliness, tolerance and migration. The festival echoes this tendency,” Vida Ramaskiene, director of Vilnius International Film Festival, said during the press conference - presentation of the Cinema Spring 2010 in the Artis Hotel in Vilnius on March 4. A big part of the festival films are also dominated by the family theme.

Another movie which got this year’s Oscar (in the category of best foreign language film) is The Secret in their Eyes (the original Spanish-language title is El Secreto in des ojos), directed by Juan Jose Campanella. The story of the film is as follows: Newly retired from his career in Argentina’s criminal court, Benjamin Esposito begins writing a novel about a case from 1974, when a beautiful young newlywed was raped and murdered in her home while her husband worked at a bank.

The Russian movie Czar (dialogue in Russian, subtitles in Lithuanian and English), directed by Pavel Lungin, is probably the most sound movie of 2009 in Russia. The film portrays 16th century Russia when local nobility chose to obey the bloodiest of Russian czars, Ivan the Terrible. During this reign of terror, the head of the Orthodox Church, Philip (Russia’s megastar actor Oleg Yankovsky who died last year), a great scholar and Ivan’s close friend, dares to stand up and oppose the czars tyranny. Ivan the Terrible was Satlin’s most respected historical figure. The terror of Ivan the Terrible devastated Russia so much that 26 years after his death, in 1612, the Russian gentry invited Polish and Lithuanian troops to Moscow, where they stayed in the Kremlin trying to figure out the complex situation of the failed state of Russia.

The important part of the Cinema Spring is the competition program “New Europe - New Names.” The international jury contains international film professionals, who will make their judgment on the best debut films from Eastern and Central European countries. Among the jury members is South Korean director Lim Woo-Seong who presents his movie Vegetarian (dialogue in Korean; subtitles in Lithuanian and English) in the Cinema Spring’s non-competition program.
Ominous dreams drive a young woman, the main hero of Vegetarian, to abolish meat from her diet and reject her husband, who smells of meat. Her mysterious trauma ignites creativity and desire in her brother-in-law who is an artist, and they collaborate passionately on beautiful body-painting art.

Last year, Bulgarian director Stefan Komandarev took home the Best Film award for his The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner in the competition program “New Europe - New Names”. This year, the Lithuanian movie Low Lights, directed by Ignas Miskinis, takes part in the competition. Low Lights (dialogue in Lithuanian, subtitles in Lithuanian and English) is an urban road trip film about two men and a woman brought together by one summer night driving around in the Vilnius streets. This Lithuanian-German co-production will compete with films from Croatia, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic.

This year Cinema Spring will show many good Chinese movies, a retrospective of French actress Fanny Ardant, a Danish documentary on the funny, surrealistic reality of North Korea, an Israeli comedy A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol - original title translated into Lithuanian as Izraelietiskas Sumo which means “Israeli Sumo”) about overweight sumo wrestlers, an American shocking documentary The Cove (it got this year’s Oscar in the category of best documentary feature) about the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, the documentary Full Signal by Palestinian-American Talal Jabari speaking about the mobile phones-related harmful health effects and many other movies which are usually not available in cinemas showing on festival-free days.