The prestigious Lithuanian filmmaker AUDRIUS STONYS, one of the main representatives of the post-Soviet school, was our special guest in the festival’s last edition. On this occasion he welcomes us to Play-Doc 2010.
Cinema came into my life very early on. I remember myself in my childhood sitting in a movie theatre in a small town in Lithuania. My friends are sitting there with me smelling of hay and cheap Soviet candies.
The lights on the ceiling are fading slowly down, there is the buzzing sound of a projector being started and everybody is sitting there wrapped in darkness and silence for a few seconds. In no time the screen will light up.
I wished these seconds lasted as long as possible. In the silence and darkness after which anything and everything may turn up. The state of anticipation unites the audience. Everybody seems to stop breathing, even those local raucous boys who after a few seconds would throw remarks and candy foils in the beam of the projector.
Is there still a place for silence in this age of light, information and dynamics?
Often silence is erroneously associated with emptiness. But it is from silence that a thought emanates. Meaningless talks, stream of information and unnecessary fuss are often needed to disguise the emptiness within us.
The ability to stop, reflect upon reality through image is becoming the greatest challenge of the contemporary documentary.
When watching the Lumière brothers’ first silent film Repas de bébé the audience of that time, unspoiled and “virgin” in a cinematographic sense, marvelled at the tree leaves trembling in the background.
Have we managed, in the one hundred years of cinematography, to capture something more beautiful than those tree leaves that stayed on for a hundred years?
I profess silence. The silence that is full of poetry, anticipation and colours.
The silence which, having shaken off the burden of information flow, takes you by the hand and guides you into the world of halftones and infinite space.
At the last year‘s Play-Doc International Film Festival I saw, for the first time, the Bogdan Dziworski film Kilka opowiesci o czlowieku, which, twenty years ago in my student years, I had been told about by my professor, a great documentary filmmaker Henrikas Sablevicius.
That night, after twenty years, the silent film by the Polish film director became the meeting space for me and my teacher, though it had been six years since Henrikas Sablevicius had passed away.
The documentary film not only stops time and reflects it, but brings back to us what time has - seemingly irreversibly - taken from us.
As I sat in the cinema hall at the town of Tui, Spain, thousands kilometres away from my home, waiting for a film to begin, I felt as if I was back in my childhood movie theatre.
Of course, nobody was throwing candy foils in projector beam, nor was there any smell of cheap Soviet candies, but, it seemed to me, I was sitting elbow-to-elbow with my childhood friends, all of us breathing in the same rhythm.
The darkness will soon be gone, the screen will come to light in which we may see anything and everything turn up.

Audrius Stonys