Sensuous young adult summer love tale with beautiful shots of Lithuania and French soundtrack.
Director: Alante Kavaite | Stars: Julija Steponaityte, Aiste Dirziute
Budget: 1 million | Box office: n.a.
IMDB: 6.8 | Metacritic: n.a.
This is really a new kind of Lithuanian film, symbolizing a jump from old to young in many ways. We had succesful appearances in festivals much earlier, and recent attempts like The Gambler, but usually such movies were too depressive, dark and generally not liked by public. So they often were not even released in home theaters or actually seen by anyone other than festival audiences. Sangaile, which got a high start winning a best director for Kavaite in Sundance, is different in every way.
It is a glimpse into young adult lives, short as our Lithuanian summer. Two very different girls meet in a very unusual place for summer vacation – a town with biggest powerplant and artificial lake – and fall in love with each other. Of course there are lots of movies exploring such topics and for mostly conservative Lithuania it is really brave, but actually, as director put it, it’s not a center theme or goal of the film. Two girl characters were created to emphasize the equality of personalities and stress the differences in them without relying on gender. It’s a story of friendship and love, which helps overcome fears and struggles in this age, such as self-injuring. But it’s not dramatized or lecturing, everything just happens and flows with an easy, ever positive summer breeze.
Sangaile relies mostly on visual and aural impressions, there’s actually not so much story to tell. And it works marvelously, and it’s sure to appeal universaly as many festivals and international openings proved and hopefully will continue to prove once the film opens in many regions. The biggest goal was to create an engaging, but easy going sense of summer, with many dialogue-free scenes, such as going in a car to the lake. French director of photography Dominique Colin already got many high praises, especially given low film budget and complicated shots such as flying in acrobatic planes.
Another French guy who is responsible for the unique feeling is the soundtrack creator Jean Benoit Dunckel. If you don’t recall the name, you’ll surely know the band he is part of – Air. Coincidence with sky heavy visuals or not, his soundtrack carries through and connects different stages of this summer journey.
It fits to cover Sangaile briefly, because more words would just crack through the thin dreamy bubble of the movie. It really sounds and looks fragile, but the film truly stands on it’s own and might be the biggest success of Lithuanian cinema in many years. It already got shortlisted for European Film Awards, kind of European Oscars, and there’s a hope to grab attention of the Academy.