Running time: 98 MIN.
Marius …Arunas Sakalavskas
Maria … Almira Grybavskaite
Using a format similar to Lodge Kerrigan’s fest hit “Clean, Shaven,” Lithuanian indie “And He Bid You Farewell” examines mental illness from both interior and exterior perspectives, blurring the lines between reality and pretense, dream and memory. Despite strong imagery and thought-provoking subject matter, most of the time auds are likely to be as confused as the patient, but entering this nightmarish maze does lead to a satisfying payoff of sorts. Memorable first feature by Anatolijus Siusa could find specialized slots internationally.
Marius at first seems to be a confused, amnesiac shoemaker who denies even knowing his sensitive, pregnant, suffering wife, Maria. As “proof” of his identity, there’s a wedding photo of the couple and their neighbors, whom he meets on his wanderings around the island community.
Turns out Marius is indeed an amnesiac but actually lives in a sanatorium, where Maria, another patient, is a sterilized neurotic. Their wedding was fake, and their neighbors other loonies. After four years, however, Marius starts to remember his real past and forget his life in the sanatorium.
Pic, which begins and ends with Marius alone on the sand, sports a texture dominated by images of solitude and emptiness. The sanatorium has a highly decorated exterior, but rooms are bereft of normal decor.
Film also works as a metaphor for Lithuania (and Central Europe) over the past half-decade. “Is this a sanatorium of madmen?” asks Marius. “It’s a country of madmen,” replies his doctor.