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FESTIVALS Lithuania

Kaunas welcomes Graveyard Keeper’s Daughter

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Kaunas welcomes Graveyard Keeper’s Daughter

The fifth edition of the Kaunas International Film Festival (KIFF) ended in the eponymous town in Lithuania, the second biggest city of the Baltic country after the capital, Vilnius, though screenings will continue through October 16 at several other locations in the country.

One of the most interesting sections of the festival is the Identity section, which looks at (mostly external) factors that influence the sense of self in both fiction and documentary formats.

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Films that are part of the sidebar include Albanian Oscar submission Amnesty [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bujar Alimani
film profile
]
from Bujar Alimani; Spanish Oscar submission Black Bread [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
from Agustí Villaronga; Icelandic coming-of-age film Jitters [+see also:
trailer
interview: Atli Óskar Fjalarsson
film profile
]
(see review) and Dutch documentary An Angel in Doel.

Films from the Baltic region are also represented, including the Latvian documentaries Family Instinct and Dresses, Mothers, Daughters and local non-fiction films Restricted Sensation from director Deimantas Narkevicius and A Partisan’s Wife from filmmaker Vytautas V. Landsbergis.

Estonian fiction feature The Graveyard Keeper’s Daughter [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
is also part of the section. The film is the second feature of writer-director Katrin Laur after her debut Ruudi from 2006. It was produced by Laur’s Content Providers in co-production with Mati Seping of Estin Film.

The daughter of the title is the 8-year-old Lucia (Kertu-Killu Grenman), who lives a quite happy life though she’s being neglected by her father, a graveyard keeper, and her alcoholic mother. Despite her young age, she looks after a child with Down Syndrome who lives nearby, and who looks like the statue of an angel at the cemetery. Things start to change on a fateful family trip to Finland.

The film, which stays close to the point of view of Lucia, was screened at several festivals, including Montreal, Arsenals in Latvia, Helsinki, Lübeck and two festivals in India. It was released locally last February.

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