This intriguing first feature, the work of a former musician turned film director, explores the contempo world of a middle-class, middle-aged woman going through a difficult period. Strikingly photographed pic heralds an interesting future career for the writer-director, but despite considerable qualities, “The Lease” is too minimalist and ultimately too obscure to travel beyond the festival circuit, where it will attract mixed reactions.
A businesswoman (elegantly played by Larisa Kalpokaite) recovering from a failed relationship leases an apartment unaware that a man living nearby is observing her and her neighbors through binoculars. As she attempts to start a new life, the woman must come to terms with former relationships and friends in ways that are not always easy and which culminate in a confrontation with the voyeur. But, despite the occasional trappings of a thriller, this is not a narrative-driven pic, since the writer-director is more interested in creating a minimalist mood piece, which will frustrate as many viewers as it entrances. Location camerawork in the streets and apartments of Vilnius evocatively captures the mood of a city during a period of change, and technically, the film is sleek in every department.