June, 1961. Ethnic Lithuanian father and daughter Vladas and Ruta were separated during the events of WWII - Ruta ending up with her mother - and have not seen each other since, when Ruta ...
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June, 1961. Ethnic Lithuanian father and daughter Vladas and Ruta were separated during the events of WWII - Ruta ending up with her mother - and have not seen each other since, when Ruta was only a child. Vladas remained in what is now Soviet occupied Lithuania, while Ruta lives in Chicago. They have kept in touch via letters, using fake names to protect themselves from the potentially prying eyes of the Communists. They only spoke on the telephone for the first time a few months ago. As Ruta is studying in Hamburg, she and Vladas make arrangements to meet in the west sector of Berlin, this meeting their first since the war. Ruta and her friend Aukse, also a Lithuanian-American, will stay at a pension in the west sector, while Vladas will stay in a consulate housing compound in the east sector, that housing arranged by "comrade" Juozas Aleksandraviius, then cross over to the west sector for the meeting. After they both arrive in Berlin, they find that the geopolitical situation of ... Written by
I saw this at the Cleveland International Film Festival with a Lithuanian in a theater full of Lithuanians. Ruta is a young girl who fled to America with her mother right after WWII and the Communist occupation of Lithuania. She returned to Germany hoping to reunite with her beloved father, who is was unable to escape Communism and is under control of the KGB.
The story isn't bad, and could have made a good movie. But the direction is slow, distracting, and there are long pauses and focus on irrelevant people and objects that just detract from the story. The overwhelming theme is people smoking. There are actually scenes that focus solely on an ashtray and cigarettes flicking ash. These fill the screen for significant time, and it's as though the director needed to fill time.
When the lights came up there were people asleep or close to it. It was beyond the stamina of most everyone to endure the long, lingering scenes where nothing happened.
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