Bartas is the master of hushed sensuality. A man of few words; one of the great painterly film makers of modern cinema, more closely allied to Rembrandt than to Alexander Sokurov. Through poignant lighting and unusual framing, Bartas manages to give faces and landscapes breathtaking emotion and beauty. Bartas' latest film is set largely in the Crimea, in the deep south of Russia and the Ukraine, or more precisely in the former Soviet Union. In the opening scenes, an old Mercedes is stolen somewhere in a nocturnal, industrial landscape. It then serves as the transport for a journey to the end of the world. Human fate takes us through endless steppes, along bad roads lined by deserted, derelict houses providing evidence of human history. Mila, a young woman, joins a group of bums who trek from bar to bar and from job to job. The disparate group that ends up at a former state farm are united by a hostile attitude to society. Villains, wretches, outcasts, antisocial elements, they all want to escape from themselves, from the law, from life as it is. Together they almost form a prehistoric tribe that turns its back on civilisation, in which smoking and drinking are the rituals through which people come to terms with the intangible loneliness and the cruelty of life. (GT)

Filmmaker
Sharunas Bartas
Country
Lithuania, France, Portugal, Netherlands
Year
2005
Medium
35mm
Length
119’
Language
Producer
Gemini Films, Kinema Group, Roaring Films, Paulo Branco, Sharunas Bartas
Sales
Gemini Films
Writer
Sharunas Bartas
Cinematography
Sharunas Bartas
Editor
Niels Dekker
Production Design
Elena Pozdniakova, Sigitas Motoras, Denis Bauer
Sound Design
Vladimir Golovnitski
Cast
Dmitri Podnozov, Rita Klein