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Lithuania celebrates Venice International Film Festival Award

Piligrimai (Pilgrims) by Laurynas Bareiša has won Orizzonti Award for Best Film at the Venice International Film Festival. Orizzonti section of the prestigious Venice International Film Festival is dedicated to the international competition of films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends. Laurynas Bareiša believes that his film, with a budget of EUR 308,000, has convinced the jury through its simplicity.

Laurynas Bareiša is already familiar to the festival audience: his short film Pirtis (By the Pool) premiered in Venice in 2017. This year, the director has been a success, with the coveted symbolic lion statue travelling to Lithuania. As Laurynas Bareiša said, there was definitely no shortage of excitement at the festival – the best film is traditionally announced last, having awarded the best actor, director, screenwriter, etc. Although the film will soon begin its journey through international festivals, Laurynas’ greatest desire is that Lithuanian viewers see the film as soon as possible.

Piligrimai (Pilgrims) tells a story of Paulius and Indrė arriving in Karmėlava. Four years ago, Paulius’s brother, Indrė’s boyfriend Matas, was killed there. Paulius tries to retrace the circumstances of the event, Indrė tries to stop him from reckless actions, and then herself begins to doubt the sense of the journey. Eventually, the two will have to find an answer, as to why they travelled there and what the trip changed.

The Venice International Film Festival is the world’s oldest film festival, founded in 1932, and held annually in late August or early September on the island of the Lido in Venice, Italy. The festival is part of a larger cultural event, the Venice Biennale, and is one of the ‘Big Three’, the most prestigious film festivals in the world, alongside Berlin and Cannes.

A generation of young artists has grown up in Lithuania, making Lithuania famous all over the world. In 2019 at the Venice Biennale, a prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation was awarded to an opera-performance Sun and Sea (Marina) by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė.