Review: ‘Loss’

A tangled web of lineage, adoption and deception is woven in the challenging, satisfying Lithuanian drama "Loss."

A tangled web of lineage, adoption and deception is woven in the challenging, satisfying Lithuanian drama “Loss.” Though the film’s narrative shards tumble as though from a smashed window, helmer Maris Martinsons pieces them together with assurance. Already well traveled on the fest circuit, this independently financed feature has specialty life left prior to selected arthouse play, TV sales and ancillary.

Pic was inspired by “Six Degrees of Separation” and Dostoevsky’s line about “the tears of that one tortured child.” In contempo Vilnius, Lithuania, desperate, perpetually drunk Ben (Kostas Smoriginas) rages at a pair of exes: Nora (Dalia Micheleviciute), who lost a leg due to his negligence and has adopted a young boy, Paul (Gelmis Naujikas); and schemer Laima (Daiva Tamosiunaite-Budre), who’s replaced Nora as the head of Ben’s business. Meanwhile, in Dublin, newly arrived Valda (Valda Bickute), believing herself to be Paul’s mother, goes to work for a tortured priest (popular musician Andrius Mamontovas) who holds the key to the mystery that binds all together. Gints Berzins’ probing cinematography is reminiscent of Chris Doyle’s work for Wong Kar Wai, while Mamontovas’ brooding score fits the mood like a glove.




An ART&A presentation and production, in association with Arteta and Lithuanian Film Studios. (International sales: ART&A, Vilnius, Lithuania.) Produced by Linda Krukle, Maris Martinsons, Zivile Gallego. Executive producers, Violeta Kilsauskiene, Ramunas Skikas. Directed, edited by Maris Martinsons. Screenplay, Martinsons, Raimondas Paskevicius.


Camera (color, Super 16-to-35mm), Gints Berzins; music, Andrius Mamontovas; production designer, Edita Valaite; costume designer, Jolanta Rimkute; sound (Dolby SRD), Arturas Pugaciauskas. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (noncompeting), Aug. 30, 2008. Original title: Nereikalingi zmones. English, Lithuanian dialogue. (Also in Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Cairo film festivals; Black Nights Film Festival, Tallinn, Estonia.) Running time: 92 MIN.


Valda Bickute, Andrius Mamontovas, Dalia Micheleviciute, Kostas Smoriginas, Daiva Tamosiunaite-Budre, Gelmis Naujikas.

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