Cold War intrigue prior to the erection of the Berlin Wall injects the occasionally engaging “Back to Your Arms” with a tension that’s nevertheless different from what you’d expect in a standard spy movie. What that amounts to is an unfulfilled father-daughter relationship, with dad under the grip of KGB agents and the American-based, Lithuanian-born daughter trying to reunite with him under near-impossible conditions. Pic’s dry, subdued manner, under Kristijonas Vildziunas’ direction in his third feature, will neutralize fest interest despite its status as Lithuania’s foreign-language Oscar submission.Studying in Hamburg, far from the Chicago home she shares with her exiled mother, Ruta (Elzbieta Latenaite) is enjoying herself in Berlin with pal Aukse (Jurga Jutaite) when she learns that her father, Vladas (Andrius Bialobzeskis), is in the Soviet sector of East Berlin. Contacted in an especially effective scene by KGB agents (led by Giedrius Arbaciauskas), Ruta becomes determined to see Vladas after many years apart, all the while unaware she’s the target of KGB plans to capture and recruit her as a spy in the West. Period production and costume design, plus inserted archival footage, exude intelligence.
A Best Films (in Lithuania)/Acme (in Poland) release of a Studio Uljana Kim/TOR Film Prod. presentation. (International sales: the Film Sales Co., New York.) Produced by Uljana Kim. Executive producer, Galina Kim. Co-producers, Krzystof Zanussi, Janusz Wachala. Directed, written by Kristijonas Vildziunas.
Camera (color/B&W), Vladas Naudzius; editors, Vildziunas, Valdas Misevicius; music, Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz; music supervisor, Pia Hoffmann; production designer, Galius Klicius; costume designer, Agne Rimkute. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (Awards Buzz: Best Foreign-Language Film), Jan. 9, 2012. Running time: 90 MIN.
Elzbieta Latenaite, Andrius Bialobzeskis, Jurga Jutaite, Margarita Broich, Giedrius Arbaciauskas, Aleksas Kazanavicius, Franz Broich-Wuttke, Sandra Maren Schneider. (Russian, Lithuanian, German dialogue)