“Redirected” and Lithuania of Vėlyvis 0

Maksim Ivanov
www.kamane.lt, 2014-02-04
E.Vėlyvis “Redirected”. Photos from the filming site (photos by Paulius Makauskas)

In brief: Effective marketing campaign, record numbers of sold tickets (more than LTL 1 million earned during the first four days), photo sessions, interviews, a party at Vilnius Town Hall, endless press releases, countless number of exalted whoops of people in Facebook, action of rating on imdb.com website (the film “Redirected” is valued at 9.4 out of 10, more than 9400 website users have voted), side projects, teasers in Youtube channel, making-of and other videos – all this shows that the film of Emilis Vėlyvis “Redirected” is more than just a cinema work. It is a social fact, and the film is only part of it. The aim of the author of the article is not to sell the film, having in mind that the majority of people have already seen it, but to offer one of the possible answers what has happened here in fact.

The author states that he could have refrained from writing this article as he is not the addressee of the film; however, he decided to write it due to the lack of more ambitious thoughts and deeper looks in other critics’ works. Several critical essays on the film have already been published in the press; still, in the author’s opinion, there is no look at how the film and the movement around it appears in the wider context (except for the review of Živilė Pipinytė in 7 Meno Dienos, perhaps). And favourable conditions have appeared to speak about many things relating to the film.

According to the author, the phenomenon of commercial cinema that had not existed in Lithuania previously started forming during the latter years. Here are several of the successful examples: “Zero 2” (2010), “Tadas Blinda. The Beginning” (2011), “Valentine Alone” (2013), “Women are Better Liars. Kristina” (2013), “How to Steal a Wife” (2013). The named films surpassed one another by income and response. In fact, the new feature of commercial cinema is its intrusion into the community life. The film “Zero 2” of Vėlyvis was perhaps the first case in Lithuanian history that became a big social phenomenon. “Redirected” is the climax of this tendency, its highest point.

Part of this is the merit of creators who increased the popularity of Lithuanian cinema little by little. The demand for Lithuanian cinema has increased thanks to their efforts. The films of all these filmmakers – Miškinis, Vaitkus, Audrius Juzėnas, Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, participants of the competition-festival AXX (2005–2007) (including Vėlyvis himself), Žeraldas Povilaitis, Giedrė Beinoriūtė, Kristina Buožytė, Gytis Lukšas, Saulius Drunga, Donatas Vaišnoras – were almost equally popular if compared with earlier Lithuanian cinema and equally unpopular if compared with the new commercial cinema. Algimantas Puipa and Maris Martinsons had more success but the number of viewers of their films is much lower than the achievements of the new cinema.

The author states that the main feature that earlier attempts missed is the mobilisation of potential and present viewers via social media. Also, he emphasises the fact that the new cinema has a genre. The situation of the new cinema makers is special as they have a right to set the foundations for genres in our country and to form traditions, according to which the future genre and non-genre Lithuanian films will be evaluated. Therefore, we have a chance to observe flashes that will potentially set light in the entire sphere.

The Lithuanian criminal comedy of black humour, like any other newly established genre in Lithuania, is still an unstable phenomenon that is getting an approximate form. This peculiarity opens vast possibilities for Vėlyvis, his colleague script writer Jonas Banys and other famous makers of genre films for experimenting.

E.Vėlyvis “Redirected”. Photos from the filming site (photos by Paulius Makauskas)

The view of Lithuanian film industry is changing, professional cinema of high mastery that brings income is born, sprouts of local genre films appear. It should be emphasised that “Redirected” is not the first film that enables to observe these changes but in the case of this film many big novelties of the latter period become visible.

Finally, the author concludes that “Redirected” of Emilis Vėlyvis is not only a film but also a socio-cultural phenomenon that magnetises a big number of problems important to Lithuanian film culture and the public. We should speak about them, be interested in them and analyse them, or otherwise we risk to miss things that are happening now.

Read comments
Write your comment