The first novel:
Written by Algirdas Pocius, Ilja Rudas-Gercovskis
Director Ilja Rudas-Gercovskis
Cinematography by Donatas Pečiūra
Music by Algimantas Apanavičius
Art director Algirdas Ničius
Dalia Melėnaitė, Ferdinandas Jakšys, Juozas Rygertas, Marijonas Giedrys, Regimantas Adomaitis, Boris Smelcovas, Balys Juškevičius
About the film
- Best acting in Belarus and Moldovia film festival in Riga (1968) for Regimantas Adomaitis
Two novels about the relationship between men and women.
More about the film
This film, behind which was a large crew of screenwriters, directors and cameramen, today can be undeniably considered as part of the most successful decade of Lithuanian cinema, the 1960s. Whatever it might be categorised as – the everyday comic drama or melodrama – this feature, which came out alongside Laiptai į dangų (Stairway to Heaven) by Raimondas Vabalas and Jausmai (Feelings) by Algirdas Dausa and Almantas Grikevičius that were hailed at the time, matured over time and unexpectedly became comparable to good wine. One can imagine that in some retrospective, its observations would be no lesser than those of trendy French cinema.
First-time directors Ilja Rud-Gercovskis (a victim of Stalin’s deportations, talented journalist, who, unfortunately, died soon after the film was made), Algimantas Kundelis and Marijonas Giedrys drew inspiration not only from the French new wave but also from Lithuanian short fiction (the script is based on two novelettes, by Algirdas Pocius and Raimondas Kašauksas), which at that time had begun to dictate a certain laconic style, like that of Mykolas Sluckis or Romualdas Lankauskas, that lent itself to being adapted for the screen particularly well. The two pieces are organically tied with the threads of ‘travel film’ into a depiction of ‘another day in a small town’ (reminiscent of Vabalas’ Birželis, vasaros pradžia (June, the Beginning of Summer), and only its moralising, censored end today jumps out from the seamless pattern of evenly airily depicted Games That Grown-Ups Play.
Doubtless, these games enthral with the portraits of women (as many as five very different female characters played by Dalia Melėnaitė, Eugenija Pleškytė, Danutė Juronytė, Nijolė Lepeškaitė, Gerlinda Kovaitė) each of whom seeks happiness with a man destined for her yet none achieves it. While the first protagonist meets not one but two men only to be disenchanted by their being namby-pambies (“You drank away and slept away everything...”), the disappointment is greater for the rest of the women as they meet the opposite – an energetic and ingenious man, but, alas, a Don Juan (played by 30-year-old actor Regimantas Adomaitis). At the time, it was clear why that was: he’s not someone to build a strong family with, he’s not what I need; nowadays, however, he would be just an ordinary passer-by picking up bubbly girls in outdoor cafes – without a hint of commitment.
It is always interesting to take notice of the movie set and the inserts used in old cinema: the iron washbasin with a mechanical water locking device, the water pump, the chickens, the intricately hung wallpaper, the pack of motorcyclists (future bikers) not yet encircled by the militsya and female students on their way to “practicum” at a collective farm waving at them; the philosophising drunkard (portrayed by the director Marijonas Giedrys himself), who turns all the protagonists’ problems upside down like an hourglass (“Back in the day, I'd drink and I'd want women., now, I drink and I want another drink.”). In the end, a dignified single mother tells the good-for-nothing to go away – and so he does, to the whistled melody (composer Algimantas Apanavičius). He seems to be about to reach the present day...
– Film critic Jūratė Visockaitė