After the premiere. On the distances and authorship
While contemplating about the film "I’m Not From Here", for me, the most interesting were the distances. Here – Giedrė Žickytė had to travel several hundred kilometres to Denmark, to meet the Chilean director Maite Alberdi there, in the special film workshop. Later, she had to cover a few thousand kilometres to the Chilean capital Santiago, to make there finally a film about a woman with Alzheimer's disease, who forgets what she did yesterday, but does not forget what happened in her youth days in her native Basque country, separated from Chile by the vastness of the continent, and the Atlantic Ocean.
In modern cinema, where co-productions are not surprising for a long time already, and often become the last, and sometimes even the only salvation for filmmakers, such film trajectories should not surprise us. More and more directors become the "world directors". More and more they are looking not only for alternative sources of funding, but also for alternative stories – such that would go beyond locality, that would be universal.
Some filmmakers feel fine in this path. Their auteur vision is so strong that it goes beyond any geographical and cultural differences. They even manage to handle the diktat of co-production and the positivist one-facedness of script writing workshops. The others sacrifice their auteur vision and creativity in this path, just generally to be able to create, to film, simply to implement the project. Because what kind of a director are you, if you enter the filming set only every five years or even less frequently.
What a pity that those first ones are much less numerous than the second ones. Today, the latter filmmakers have mastered script writing so well, so thoroughly absorbed the money and are so smart with public relations, that their works are literally abounding in international film festivals. Such films I call the "plankton of festivals".
In this regard, the film by Giedrė Žickytė and Maite Alberdi is somewhere in the middle. It is not too complicated, it is correct (both in terms of content and form), leaves a good emotion after the screening (which always seems to appeal), but, fortunately, by keeping the distance it does not overshadow the attitude of the authors – to talk about serious things easily and lightly, I would even say, in a stoic way, and in solidarity with the main heroine.
What inspires the most, is that stoic poise of the heroine regarding her origin, and her language and more intelligent insights than other boarding house residents have. Because it is that sturdy character, rather than Alzheimer's with all of the ensuing blunder, in my understanding, is the main pivot of the film. If the directors would have failed to, or if they had not intended to capture this dignified posture of the heroine, we would have only a short sadly-comic sketch about the daily life of a person who has lost her memory.
I think this film will be liked also by the members of the European Film Academy, who are currently deciding, who should receive awards for the best European films of the year. Of course, it will not be easy to win another historical film award for Lithuania, because there are several very audience-pleasing films among the nominees in the short film category. For example, similarly sadly-comic narrative film "Small Talk" by Norwegians Even Hafnor and Lisa Brooke Hansen, or "Home", the film by Daniel Mulloy, which is reaping prize after prize in festivals.