Review: a conversations about On Serious Topics, Lithuania’s Oscar Entry


Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s unadorned little gem “Conversations On Serious Topics” (Lithuania’s official Oscar Foreign submission),
sets a series of adolescent and teenagers in front of  a camera and asks penetrating questions.  As Beinoriūtė explained in an interview with CWB’s Bijan Tehrani, she was inspired by Lithuanian writer Vanda Juknaitė. featuring interviews with children with special needs and at risk children at risk.  The result is  a moving, somewhat melancholy trtise of the state of the world, leavened with some amusing body language.

Beinoriūtė is an adept at letting body language speak. Her relaxed style of questions pries her characters open like a clam shucker; and she knows when to let the camera run. Some of these kids, wise beyond their years, will keep you “talking” with them long after the 65-minute documentary ends.  A blind girl scoffs when asked if she believes in God, “Of course I do” she answers incredulously. A gifted little singer knows about love because he loves his brother and his parents.

One girl tells her dreams to the camera. A deaf girl signs several fables. A teen who wishes he had had parents, toys and a safe place to grow up confesses he’s his own best friend and trusts nobody else. Another  pre teen runaway passed as an eight year old to trick his way into another family’s home. In somewhat lighter moments, a light hearted girls describes what makes a good birthday party. Beinoriūtė’s most engaging character clowns with the camera.

The film, which won the 2013 Best Film Award at DocuDays UA International Human Rights Documentary film festival (Ukraine) is a uniques choice in the Oscar Race.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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