Unusual both because, as Näripea states, it “lacks the ideological markers of Soviet life” and because it features an unmarried mother as one of its main characters, Arūnas Žebriūnas’s Lithuanian The Beauty (Gražuolé) focuses on free-spirited nine-year-old Inga (Inga Mickyte), whose self-confidence is shattered when a new neighbour declares her ugly, opening up her early rite of passage into the adult world of disillusionment that her single mother (Lilija Zadeikyte) already fully occupies.
In a key sequence of this luminous film (Algmantas Mockus’s monochrome cinematography floods the screen with white), another little girl sits besides an aged poet who is watching the demolition of the building where, many decades earlier, he had lived with his parents. The girl expresses incredulity that a man so old could ever have had a mother, even as he bears witness to the literal ruins of his childhood. It is a bittersweet take on the passage of time and the replacement of one generation by the next in a succession of both changes and inevitable iterations, where every little child is an old and jaded adult in the making.
899MB | 1 h 6 min | 1027×428 | mkv