"Few of Us" (1996)
Sharunas Bartas is one of the greatest Lithuanian filmmakers. His third feature work, "Few of Us" (1996) is a slow and quiet movie. There are no lines and no dialogs. However this film made a strong impression on me.
The heroine of the film, Yekaterina Golubeva, is so attractive that I found myself following her in the eye. She is Russian actress, known for "Pola X" by Leos Carax. She kept Sharunas Bartas, the director of this film, company not only in business but also in private. They had marital relationship. According to IFFR(International Film Festival Rotterdam), she was pregnant by him at the time of filiming "Few of Us". Unfortunately she passed away in 2011. The cinema has lost the very Muse.
At the beginning of the film, a woman played by Yekaterina Golubeva lands at a remote mountain from a helicopter. She seems to be a stranger from the civilization. The camera captures those who live sometime and somewhere in Siberia, that cannot be identified. They struggle to get along with harsh nature. Actors except some stars are probably not professional. Audiences have difficulty distinguishing acted parts from not acted ones. Something dramatic never happens throughout the film. This is far from spectacular Hollywood movies. Sharunas Bartas clearly aims at the minimalism. Unneccessary dialogs are removed. The image are sharp and sophisticated. There are lots of long takes, that are lyric. Because of the minimalism, audiences are forced to concentrate on every shot and every sound more strongly. We cannot help witnessing how harsh nature is, how lonely those who live in a remote corner, and how many faces Yekaterina Golubeva has. The long silence reveals her different faces. Sometimes she is humble, at other times she is mysterious. This film doesn't hold without the sharp look in her eyes. The whole film works well for the sake of her eyes.
The film suddenly ends with the shot of snow scene and with the sound of a helicopter. Audiences have experienced the strange journey as Yekaterina Golubeva has. This film definitely provides a powerful cinematic experience with us.