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BLACK NIGHTS 2022 First Feature Competition

Titas Laucius • Director of Parade

“The Church is a static institution, and the film’s images reflect that”


- The Lithuanian director takes his protagonists on an odyssey through the structures of the Catholic Church

Titas Laucius • Director of Parade

Titas Laucius is presenting his directorial feature length debut Parade [+see also:
film review
interview: Titas Laucius
film profile
in the First Feature Competition of Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival. It’s a highly intelligent tragicomedy which raises many important social questions relating to family and faith. We talked to the director about the inspiration for his story, his personal connection with religion and his memories as a member of a brass band.

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Cineuropa: Where did the idea for the story come from?
Titas Laucius: From my parents. They got divorced and found themselves in a similar situation. My father wanted to get married in church for a second time and had to go through this process, which took him a year. They only told me about it when they were nearly at the end of it, and it took me by surprise. I didn't want to make a film about my parents because it felt too personal.

Can you tell us more about how you researched the Catholic process of marriage annulment?
I know a few people who have had similar experiences. I only came to know about it after I’d started working on the film. I told people around me about my story and they came out with their own experiences. I was amazed that everybody knows how it works, but that nobody actually talks about it. I collated their experiences, but I also met with priests to ask for more details. They told me about the witnesses who are needed in these cases. I also learned that there’s been some modernisation over the years. Since around 2018, cases have no longer been sent to the Pope's office. The judges involved have a certain amount of influence on the outcome. It depends on them and on whether they believe your arguments. At first, I thought it was quite funny, but then I realised how serious the matter is. If religion is important to you, this is a hard process to endure.

How would you describe the Church’s status in Lithuania and what is your personal connection to it?
I would say that it doesn't have as powerful a position as in Poland, for example. It has a different level of importance for the older generation, who are still very attached to it, than it does for younger people, who enjoy more freedom. But a lot of the younger generation do still want to get married in church. I have close friends who did, and I was there when they had their church classes with the priest, in preparation for the wedding, because it was online. It was really interesting to hear the types of questions the priest asked them. And I realised that it’s very difficult to know whether people’s answers are actually truthful when they’re asked how important religion is for them. As for myself, I have a Catholic background, but I don’t go to church. Before the film, I thought it was nonsense to go to the effort of getting married in church. But having worked on the subject and spoken with people, I’m not completely against it anymore. Rituals are important for people and marrying in church is a powerful ritual.

Why did you choose the brass band as a narrative element? Is there an autobiographical aspect to it?
Yes. I myself played in a band for ten years. At some point while I was writing the script, I realized that I was missing a personal connection to the story. I remembered my experience in the band. I read the diary I wrote at the time, about my memories of being 15-16 years old. I described going to the concerts like scenes from a war film. As band members, we mostly didn't know where exactly we were going and why we were playing. There’s a similarity between the young people in the band and the people who are going through the Church court process. None of them really knows why they’re doing what they’re doing, but they keep on doing it, without really knowing why it's important anymore.

You mostly use a steady camera. What were the most important aspects for the film’s visual concept?
I made my graduation film with a handheld camera. The filming process is superfast in this respect. At the time, I thought it was the best form for the film, which was 100% improvisation. As for Parade, a steady camera best suited the story. The Church is a static institution, and the images reflect that. I think the static shots are funny too.

What were the biggest challenges you faced while producing the film?
Post-production was challenging because we had to record the brass band playing. They didn't play correctly during the shoot, they just played anything, completely out of tune. So me and my friends made the music afterwards, I was one of the musicians.

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