A girl visits her mother in prison. That’s the story. The whole story. The girl sits on a bed in a room at her grandparents’ house. She says nothing. She is in a car, her grandfather drives. She says nothing. They take a break and have a bite to eat at a highway café. She says nothing. She enters the prison and sits with her mother. No words.

Tue Steen Müller
Previous founder/editor of the DOX magazine.

Alone

Audrius Stonys

Lithuania, 2001, 16 min

Nothing really happens. You don’t get any explanations – what I have just told you is my interpretation. They must be her mother and her grandparents. Three generations gathered around an event, which we don’t know anything about. Why is the mother in prison? We are not told. It is not important.

The girl is important. The pace of the film is slow and insisting. The filmmaker wants you to look at the girl, to see her. A beautiful face, a dreamy look, yet sad maybe. What is she thinking of? What are her feelings? Is she scared? Of what? Maybe of taking part in a film and being shuffled around by the filmmakers, who are busy placing the camera in the car! ‘This is a film, we set the whole thing up, we want you to be aware of this fact,’ is what the filmmaker tells us. When the cameraman with his Arriflex appears in the picture, it creates a meta-level and a certain distance. The face of the child is not the face of a specific child, it is the face of a child. Music by Händel and Purcell accompanies this image. With a magnificently strong metaphor at the end of the film – the Tree of Life.

alone-2001

After a handful of short documentaries, Lithuanian filmmaker Audrius Stonys has, as (too few) festival connoisseurs know, positioned himself as a true poetic documentarist. With films like World of the Blind, Antigravitation, Harbour, Flying over Blue Fields and now Alone, he has left his unique signature on the short documentary genre. Though he has a much more romantic approach to reality and a more distinct narrative style, Stonys is the most obvious follower to the Armenian master Arvand Pelichian and his enigmatic film language demonstrated in Seasons. Stonys believes in the strength of the picture and prefers to avoid dialogue if possible. He knows how powerful and manipulative film can be. This is why he introduces the filmmaking aspect in this new film. He wants us to look at the face of the child. At innocence. That is what I read into this beautiful visual poem.


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