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  • Freedom (2000) (Report Dead Links) Rating: 6.1/10 Runtime: 96 Language: French, Berber Country: France | Portugal | Lithuania Color: Color IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0255177/ Director: Sharunas Bartas Cast: Valentinas Masalskis ... The Man Fatima Ennaflaoui ... The Girl Axel Neumann ... The Other Corey Large ... Soldier Description: A drug trafficking operation fails and two men and a local girl are left ashore on the Moroccan Coast. They wander wordlessly into the inland desert in search of food, water and shelter. When the two men go their separate ways, the girl is left to follow one of them deeper into the abandoned landscapes. Although they share no common language, a tranquil bond grows between the girl and the man she chooses. A handful of strangers hoping to find freedom discover it is no easy quarry in this metaphoric drama. Four people stand near the shore of a seaside community and board a small boat hoping to sail away; they are soon attacked by border guards, and one of them does not survive. The three remaining sailors -- two men (Axel Neuman and Valentinas Masalskis) and a woman (Fatima Ennafloui) -- wash up on the beach of an island strewn with rocks. None of them speak the same language, and they struggle to make their way on the unforgiving coastline, often at odds with each other. They find they are not alone on the island -- an Arab settlement and a cadre of soldiers are already living there; the military men attack them, and the Arabs refuse to come to their aid. Freedom was shown in competition at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. A voice from the frontier of both post-post-industrial civilization and art-film reductionism, Lithuanian filmmaker Sarunas Bartas may be the ultimate litmus test for hardcore cineastes. His films represent a polar cap of inhospitable cinematic ordeal—they withhold orthodox pleasures so strenuously you imagine the filmmaker as a marching ascetic, disgusted with a decadent movie world. A Bartas film rarely moves, and is never host to more than a few mumbling moments of inconsequential dialogue—you arrive long after life has already wound down into hopeless silence. Stripped of even the barest efforts toward narrative and character, Bartas's aesthetic also calls for the spectacular capture of natural desolation, whether it be the hovels of Lithuanian capital Vilnius, or the Siberian Sayan Mountains, where Tofolar nomads still hunker down amid the reindeer dung. Immersion into the Anthology retro will knee-jerkedly bring Sokurov and Tarkovsky to mind, but they're plan sequence song-and-dance men compared to Bartas, who suggests both Godard's recent watchfulness and Herzog's devotion to extreme landscapes. The films, starting with the semi-doc featurette To the Day Passed-By (1990), further skirt total sensory deprivation by way of extraordinary ambient-layer-cake soundtracks, seething with distant voices, wind roar, mechanical white noise, pin-drop minutiae, and the despairing wheeze of relentless exhalations. Bartas is wholly concerned with the dire, sun-crystallized locations themselves, and the quality of eternal downtime spent in the planet's forgotten valleys. A zombified portrait of the Vilnius streets haunted by a shambling homeless hulk, To The Day Passed-By is an ethnographic nightmare—few places on Earth are as bombed out by industrialized decay as ex-Soviet nations. (One startling sequence watches a massive queue of coated figures filing into a doorway; only after several minutes, when a car passes in the foreground, are we shaken from the De Chirico weirdness.) And it looks like everything you ever threw away ended up in Lithuania as secondhand goods. Bartas's first feature, Three Days (1991), is a severe stumble through Vilnius by two guys and a single girl (Katerina Golubeva), who try and fail to find a suitable place to fuck near the busy yet dissolute Baltic harbor-works. We're never sure what they're searching for, but there's little else this ......

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