Vanishing Waves (AKA Aurora) – Sea of love
by Laurence Boyce
10/07/2012 - Genre films from countries with a low cinematic output are something of a rarity and often can be met with a mixture of the dismissive and the bemused. While we’re no way in the territory of Hollywood blockbuster with this Lithuanian effort, Kristina Buožytė’s Vanishing Waves [trailer] (AKA Aurora) tries to do an intelligent science fiction tale alongside a more earthy story of love and passion. The film premiered in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary 2012.
Lukas is a scientist participating in an experiment that sends him into the mind of an unknown patient in a coma. Initially all Lukas gets is a burst if sound and image but – after a while – he begins seeing an unknown woman. Every time he re-connects to the patient he discovers more about the woman, and soon is he is falling passionately for someone (or something) that may be figment of his or the patient’s imagination. Soon his torrid ‘dream’ affair affects his real life. As his life begins to break down, he must try and find out just who the comatose person is and just how real the woman in the dream world is.
This takes its cue from many of the sci-fi movies of East European past, full of cold white scientific buildings and impressionistic dreamscapes. The effect is often striking with a particularly nice contrast between the real world and that of the strange new lands that Lukas is exploring. It does sometimes become a bit too overwrought and many of the extended sex scenes seem to be titillation rather than having any powerful intrinsic meaning. But even when it all threatens to become too excessive and melodramatic, leads Marius Jampolskis and Jurga Jutaite do a good job in giving everything a human dimension with some strong yet subtle performances.
The film’s recent special mention at Karlovy Vary should pique some interest from distributors and festival programmers and – despite the occasional misstep - it’s unique atmosphere is worthy of some attention.