“Sorrow does not come merely from contemplating death, which forces us to look into Eternity, but also from life, which compels us to confront Time”, wrote Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyayev. Renowned Lithuanian documentarist Audrius Stonys took these words as a motto for his latest film, a meditative visual essay which portrays old people undertaking all kinds of activities, meditation and group laughter therapy. Without a single word of commentary, he creates from sophisticated, aesthetic images a compelling study of human corporeality which, in an ideal union with spiritual equilibrium, can sustain us with the pledge that old age doesn’t have to be a painful wait for the last breath.
Take a deep breath, relax, and let yourself go. That’s the suggestion of this film, in which bodies become landscapes through the seasons, images rhyme, passions appear and disappear like a long breath. Inhale, exhale. Uku Ukai is not a film that tells, but lives like a meditative experience in time and space, landscape and movement. Inhale, exhale. Uku Ukai does not ask the viewer to understand but rather to enter into synchrony with the sounds and images. Uku Ukai is spiritual gymnastics: bodies run, breathe, reach out without needing to reach anything. While images flutter and sounds ricochet, the viewers become the real film. Inhale, exhale.