Archive of films Forest of the Gods / Dievų miškas
2005, 110 min
Section: East of the West - Competition
Algimantas Puipa has come up with a highly convincing treatment of a well-worn theme. His tale of people who went through a Nazi concentration camp isn’t shocking for its drastic images, but it uncovers the solitude of those who experienced something which others couldn’t possible imagine. The film, full of black humour, offers a fine performance from legend of Lithuanian film Valentinas Masalskis.
In the introductory shots of Forest of the Gods, the gestapo arrests literature professor Sruoga and drag him off to a concentration camp somewhere in Eastern Prussia. There then follows a familiar sequence of scenes: the shouting and verbal abuse accompanying the arrival at the camp, the monotonous slave labour, the grotesque contrast between the carefully filled-in columns on the registration forms and the spreading mud, filth and fatigue. The suffering and loneliness of the prisoners are perhaps all the more pervasive in the dark, post-war scenes, in which Sruoga stages his own play in a Vilnius theatre about what he had to go through during his imprisonment. The question which starts to pursue him during rehearsals is just as urgent as his re-kindled memories. Is it at all possible to depict life in a concentration camp in some other way that’s not a series of absurd panoptic scenes which can’t be taken seriously? The film is an adaptation of an autobiographical novel, in which Balys Sruoga uses black irony to capture his experiences from the Stuthof concentration camp.
About the director
Algimantas Puipa (b. 1951, Antaliepte, Lithuania) is a living classic of Lithuanian cinematography. After successful amateur beginnings, he graduated in 1974 from Moscow’s VGIK and began working for the Lithuanian Film Studio. From the very outset, he has focused in his work chiefly on adaptations of domestic and world literature, for which he has won a number of awards at international festivals – in particular, his film about the post-war collectivisation of Lithuanian rural areas Eternal Light (Amžinoji šviesa, 1987). Over the last fifteen years, visitors to Karlovy Vary would have had the chance to see four of Puipa’s most important films: Woman and Her Four Men (Moteris ir keturi jos vyrai, 1983), The Beaches Are Sandy Too (Ir ten krantai smeleti, 1991), Wolf-Teeth Necklace (Vilko dantu karoliai, 1997) and Elze’s Life (Elze íš gilios, 1999).
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||East of the West - Competition|
|Screenplay:||Algimantas Puipa, Ričardas Gavelis|
|Dir. of Photography:||Algimantas Mikutenas|
|Production:||Baltic Film Group|
|Cast:||Valentinas Masalskis, Steven Berkoff, Liubomiras Laucevičius, Rolandas Boravskis, Šarunas Puidokas, Robertas Urbonas|
|Contact:||MDC Int. GmbH|
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