A place for movie lovers

  • 2010-03-25
  • By Lasse Felsen

VILNIUS - Woody Allen once said: “If my films do not show a profit, I know I’m doing something right.” If you find this statement by the iconic actor and director amusing and can connect to his wider message, there is a cinema in Vilnius you should consider visiting. Kino Pasaka (directly translates as Cinema of Fairytales in Lithuanian) is a small and cozy movie theater situated in Vilnius’ Old Town. Kino Pasaka refers to itself as an ‘art cinema,’ carrying the meaning that it exclusively aims to screen films of high artistic and aesthetic quality; films that not necessarily turn out as box office successes, but certainly will give you ‘food’ for thought and ‘feed’ your soul in one way or another. Kino Pasaka is one of the few movie theatres of its kind in Vilnius, and with its predilection for art cinema it offers a welcome alternative to all of the mainstream playhouses around. The owners operate with a steadfast concept of screening movies in a cool and relaxed environment to an audience looking for a different and unusual experience. With their approach, they target viewers who want to find a niche and more alternative movies they do not get in many other places unless they search for long.

The scheduled program changes continuously with new movies being added to the list every day, which makes everything even more appealing and attractive. Movies originating from all corners of the world are hand-picked and displayed in the warmly colored and atmospheric interior of the darkened auditoriums. While visiting, you simply get the impression that the organizers could not help themselves doing this, that they did it out of sheer enthusiasm for a movie-loving audience. Basically, you can always find something you have not seen before, or perhaps even heard of, depending on how much of an enthusiast you are. Kino Pasaka is for the passionate looking, for more than just being entertained for a couple of hours while eating popcorn and drinking soda. Woody Allen undoubtedly would not hesitate to go.

A lot of the small, delightful films that deserve a wider audience get attention here. For example, the Danish comedy-drama Adam‘s Apples was recently shown, to much approval of this writer.  But in general, it does not make a difference whether the original language is Scandinavian, Lithuanian, English or Chinese, as long as the production is first class. As a note, movies are most of the time provided with both Lithuanian and English subtitles. Meanwhile, focus is always on the artistic side rather than the commercial, and the idea is to get people thinking about their film experience, so that they take something with them when they leave. Actually, the place feels more like a club than a cinema, and you can become a special member if you purchase a Kino Pasaka membership card.

When you enter one of the auditoriums, it feels as if you are becoming part of something unique, a select crowd in a sense, and this creates a special atmosphere not found in major cinemas showing mainly Hollywood movies. In Kino Pasaka, you will get to see what you cannot see in many other places and for this reason alone you ought to visit. There is kind of a close relationship to be found between hosts and audience, something which attracts new people into a different and innovative environment. As such, it would not be an overstatement to proclaim Kino Pasaka culturally important and vital to the larger inspiration, development and creativity of cultural life in Vilnius.

Currently the theater is running a special project titled “Cinema Spring,” which is part of the ongoing Vilnius International Film Festival. During “Cinema Spring,” Kino Pasaka will be screening – among other - 28 independent new Lithuanian films over a period of 18 days, hoping for Lithuanian and international guests alike to stream to the cinema. The project intends to shine a light on young, Lithuanian film-makers by showing their movies. In this way, new film-makers are presented with a great stepping stone for their future careers as artists, as they are projected to a wider audience.