A meticulously composed documentary about an old heathen ritual that is kept alive in a few places in Lithuania. The film is set in a village in the Samogitia region. The ritual takes place on Easter eve and continues deep into the night. The inhabitants of the village dress up in colourful costumes as ‘artists’, ‘soldiers’ or ‘Jews’. They congregate in the church where the ‘soldiers’ guard a divine statue and the ‘Jews’ try to steal it. This miraculous mixture of Christian symbolism and old heathen customs becomes increasingly burlesque as the alcohol transforms the religious feast into an exotic one. The village drowns in mud and drink. After the party the village gets back to normal.
Аrūnas Matelis was born in 1961 in Kaunas, Lithuania. After directing 10 creative documentary shorts, Arūnas Matelis’s first mid-length documentary Before Flying Back to the Earth received more than 10 awards, including a Directors’ Guild of America (DGA) Award, awards at IDFA Amsterdam, DOK Leipzig, and a nomination for the European Film Award.
Selected: Giants of Pelesa (1989), 10 Minutes Before Flight of Icarus (1990), Selfportrait (1993), First Farewell to Paradise (1998), Sunday. Gospel According to Lift-Man Albertas (2003), Before Flying Back to the Earth (2005)