Mantas Kvedaravičius’ film Mariupol 2 has been awarded a special documentary film prize at the 75th Cannes Film Festival this year. The Lithuanian filmmaker and cultural anthropologist was killed in Mariupol, Ukraine, at the end of March. The documentary jury, comprised of Agnieszka Holland, Iryna Tsilyk, Pierre Deladonchamps, Alex Vicente, and Hicham Falah, emphasized that the special prize was awarded to the film ‘which cannot be compared to any other film of the competition: a very radical, bold, artistic, and existential piece of art called Mariupol 2. Director Mantas Kvedaravičius is one of thousands of civilians who have been killed because of the Russian military actions since the Putin’s full-scale invasion started.’
The film premièred at the official special screening program Cannes Premieres.
Mariupol 2 by Kvedaravičius focuses on the daily life in a city that is being annihilated as we watch. ‘You know what was absolutely incredible in Mariupol? Nobody was afraid of death, even though they thought they were. Death was already here, and everybody wanted to die meaningfully. People even risked their own lives to help each other. They would smoke outside and talk, even as bombs were falling. Money no longer existed because life had become too short to think about it. Everyone was happy with what they had, becoming a better version of themselves; there was no past, no future, no judgement, no ambiguity! It was a paradise in hell. The touching, fragile wings of a butterfly. The smell of the true value of death. That’s what life was like in there’, reads the synopsis of the film.
Kvedaravičius directed five films, all of which have been very successful at international festivals and have received a lot of attention from film professionals and audiences alike.
The main producers of Mariupol 2 are the Lithuanian film production companies Extimacy Films and Studio Uljana Kim; two other film production companies, Easy Riders Films (producer Nadia Turincev, France) as well as Twenty Twenty Vision (producer Thanassis Karathanos, Germany), which had contributed to Mantas Kvedaravičius’ earlier film Mariupol, have also been involved in the production.