Gambling behind the glass 1

Vaiva Rykštaitė, 2014-03-24

In brief: It seems that the participation of the film “The Gambler” of the director Ignas Jonynas in San Sebastian Film Festival is a greater event than the film itself. The film was selected by the director of the festival Jose Luis Rebordinos to the list of eight films which represented the festival. Therefore, recognition has already been received. More intrigue appears after watching the trailer of the film. The trailer is impressive but does not represent the dynamics of the film, and the viewer in the mood to watch a thriller may be not in the mood to philosophise.

Life and death chases each other with the ambulance lights on in the film, and it is quite interesting to observe the life of paramedics’ subculture from the inside – how they live, work, curse and celebrate. The main hero and gambler is the charismatic physician of the emergency service Vincent (actor Vytautas Kaniušionis), who does his work well and is valued by colleagues; however, he resolves to establish an illegal gambling centre in his place of work forced by the life circumstances. Almost all employees of the emergency service get involved in gambling and lose the sense when stakes become more important than saving of patients. A service love story is born in the centre of gambling from life too.

The film is a multi-layered story which invites to get acquainted with lives of the emergency service employees and also to make a few steps further – to the philosophical dimensions of greed and altruism, life and death. Having in mind that the script was written by a professional philosopher, there is no wonder that the film has the philosophical theme.

Its creators, the entire dream-team, worked irreproachably: to take the appearance of Oona Mekas only, it is of great value. The film is done neatly and the creators willing to be intellectuals forgot to put in some salt of the banal “being oneself” into it. Therefore, if one asks whether the film is good, the author would answer that it is pretentious. She states this not due to the fact that the film is bad. It is subtle. Slow. Intellectual. Sometimes grotesque. Still, it is not inspirational. It is like lukewarm water which stays warm on weak fire but does not come to boil.

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