Lithuanian sci-fi drama, named best European sci-fi movie of the year, shows a dark love story inside the mind.
Director: Kristina Buozyte | Stars: Marius Jampolskis, Jurga Jutaite
Budget: 1 million | Box office: n.a.
IMDb: 6.9 | Metacritic: n.a.
This is really an exceptional moment for our national cinematography. Usually Lithuanian movies, even if highly regarded in some festivals, don‘t gain a wider appeal at home or financial success. This mostly has to do with hard topics, low budgets and auteur style. The lack of marketing efforts doesn‘t help too. There are few examples of financially successful movies, like the modern Tadas Blinda, but in such cases they‘re mostly done trying to resemble Hollywood production and fail with more serious moviegoers.
Vanishing Waves or Aurora is a really great example of connecting both sides. As usual, the movie first traveled through some European festivals and even the famous Fantastic Fest in the US, where it won four main Fantastic Features awards (film, director, screenplay, actress). So before coming to home theaters it already had some interest, and there was quite active marketing campaign.
The film tells a story about neural experiment, where young scientist tries to connect to a comatose woman‘s brain. It‘s hard to reveal more of a story without spoiling it – there’s no clear line how much it‘s better to know before watching. It‘s suffice to say that there is a dark and painful love story, which develops during several connected sessions. And the way the woman in her self created world reacts to a new stranger is quite believable. The team worked with medical consultants and the emotions in the movie are engaging and true. It was really a tough work for both actors Marius Jampolskis and Jurga Jutaite.
Vanishing Waves is a great example of co-production too. Although created in Lithuania, it was developed with help from France and Belgium, and the CGI work was split between Lithuania, Latvia, Canada and Finland studios. The biggest help for director Kristina Buozyte came from writer and production designer Bruno Samper. French multimedia designer and developer of interactive project www.panoplie.fr created a really interesting and enclosed set of the inside world. The house with roughly extruded torn planks really matches the tone of the film. Amazingly, everything was done with an impossibly low budget for such a movie.
The best thing about Vanishing Waves is that despite its dark tone and difficult topic, it‘s easy to watch it and the two hour film flies quite fast. It‘s hard to be objective when talking about a home country film, but I managed to forget about it when watching. It is really a solid cinematography work and a stepping stone for bigger and braver future projects which hopefully will bridge two types of our film audiences at least a bit.