Gytis Luksas' fine adaptation of Viktoras Radzevicius' 2003 novel merits attention from programmers and niche buyers.

It’s a compliment to say the Lithuanian period drama “Vortex” might be mistaken for a Soviet-bloc feature of 40-50 years ago — its austere black-and-white beauty, deliberate pace and tender solemnity are of a piece with works from a great period in world cinema. The difference is that during the 1960s, such exercises stood some chance of offshore theatrical exposure, while now they’re strictly fest fare — and not even fashionably so. Nevertheless, Gytis Luksas’ fine adaptation of Viktoras Radzevicius’ 2003 novel merits attention from programmers and niche buyers.

His father killed returning from WWI, and a teenage best friend drowned in another accident, Juzik (Giedrius Kiela) nonetheless reaches adulthood with his country innocence and good faith intact. After military service, he works in a corrupt quarry where he becomes involved with two self-destructive women: boozing, promiscuous Klara (Jevgenija Varencia); and insecure, much-victimized Maska (Oksana Borbat). Periodically, Juzik returns home to visit his lonely, aging mother (Jurate Onaityte). Structured in chapters, the tale eventually plods a bit, but sports a gentle gravity that’s winning, not least in Viktoras Radzevicius’ luminous lensing. The pic’s thesping won three Silver Crane awards in May.

Vortex

Lithuania

Production

A Lietuvos Kinostudija, Studija 2 production. (International sales: Studija 2, Vilnius.) Produced by Kestutis Petrulis, Aruna Stoskus. Directed by Gytis Luksas. Screenplay, Luksas, based on the novel by Romualdas Granauskas.

Crew

Camera (B&W), Viktoras Radzevicius; editor, Ricardas Matacius; music, Vivaldi; production designer, Augis Kepezinskas. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 28, 2009. Original title: Duburys. Running time: 142 MIN.

With

Giedrius Kiela, Oksana Borbat, Jevgenija Varencia, Jurate Onaityte, Valentinas Masalskis, Toma Vaskeviciute, Egle Mikulionyte, Darius Meskauskas, Sarunas Datenis, Diana Valiusaitene, Vladimiras Jefremovas.
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0