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 recently saw this at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival where it's writer/director Kristijonas Vilziunas and lead actress Elzbieta Latenaite were on hand at my screening for a Q&A following the film. Latenaite plays Ruta, a Lithuanian-born young woman living in the United States who has traveled to Germany with her friend Aukse (Jurga Jutaite) to meet her father Vladas (Andrius Bialobzeskis) who has moved from Soviet Lithuania to East Berlin. The story is set in 1961 just prior to the Berlin Wall going up and Vladas is under the supervision of KGB agents who want Ruta to come to the east part of the city for her reunion with her father so they can force her to stay in the east and use her as a propaganda tool. These are dangerous times in this Cold War story of families separated by post WWII politics of Europe. Good story and direction from Vilziunas in his third feature film with lot's of use of archival footage of the era. Nice cinematography from Vladas Nudzius who is principally known as a documentary cinematographer. Costumer Agne Rimkute has come up with some great designs faithful to the era and production designer Galius Klicus skillfully recreates 1961 Berlin for the film that was shot on location in Lithuania. Saulius Urbanavicius gives the film excellent sound and composer Antoni Lazarkiewicz provides an excellent score. good acting from the cast but the film moves along a little too slowly and subplots aren't explored enough. This co-production of Lithuania, Germany and Poland was Lithuania's official submission to the 84th Academy Awards. I would give this a 7.0 out of 10.
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