In the late 1950s, regional cinemas asserted themselves throughout the USSR by screening the first works of the nation’s newest generation of directors, screenwriters and actors. The Baltic SSRs in particular set out to leave a mark on the art of cinema – and by the mid-1960s, Soviet Lithuanian films were among the hippest and most avant-garde works available.

The Living Heroes is a manifesto for the wonders ahead. While Balys Bratkauskas would only have an intermittent career as a director, Arūnas Žebriūnas, Marijonas Giedrys and especially Vytautas Žalakevičius turned into star auteurs. Here, each shows a formidable finesse with the short form. Four anecdotes about children and youngsters are told, each set in a different historical period (an independent Lithuania in the late 1930s, World War II, post-war, the 1950s). What unites the episodes is a shared sense of poetics – a fascination with realism, a feeling for the extraordinary in the smallest of gestures.

Directors
Arūnas Žebriūnas, Balys Bratkauskas, Vytautas Žalakevičius, Marijonas Giedrys
Country of production
Lithuania
Production Year
1959
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
80'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Gyvieji didvyriai
Language
Lithuanian
Production Company
Lietuvos Kino Studija
Sales
Lithuanian Film Centre
Screenplay
Marijonas Giedrys, Vytautas Žalakevičius, Henrikas Šablevičius, Algimantas Čekuolis
Cinematography
Donatas Pečiūra, Algirdas Araminas, Robertas Verba, Viktoras Kriaunevičius, Jonas Gricius, Algimantas Mockus, Algirdas Šimkus
Music
Eduardas Balsys
Cast
Eduardas Čepulis, Regina Zdanavičiūtė, Kazimieras Vitkus, Nijolė Narijauskaitė, Nerijus Narkis, Vytautas Buizys, Gediminas Pauliukaitis