The Harun Farocki Institut presents five films by Mantas Kvedaravičius. The retrospective explores the work of the Lituanian filmmaker, anthropologist, and archeologist, whose focus was everyday life lived in the midst of war and in spite of it.
His first documentary, BARZAKH (2011), based on Kvedaravičius’ PhD field work, was produced with the support of Aki Kaurismäki. The film, about the effects of persecution and abduction in Chechnya, premiered at the Berlinale, receiving the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Special Mention and the Amnesty International Film Award and went on to win Lithuania’s Best Documentary of the Year prize as well as a number of other awards. Filmed during the first phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war, his second film, MARIUPOLIS (2016), is a study of the city, dedicated “to its poets and shoemakers.” His third film, Parthenon (2019), filmed between Odessa, Athens and Istanbul, ventures towards the realms of fiction, in what he describes as a long-term project on “dispossession and desire” that also includes the recently released Prologos (2022). When he and his partner made the decision to return to Mariupol, after the start of the war in early 2022, he had been living in Uganda and working on G.O.M.A., his second fiction film. In March, whilst filming what would become Mariupolis 2, he was captured and killed by Russian forces.
Commenting on Mariupolis, Kvedaravičius states that his film is not merely about the absurdity of war; rather, it is “about voice, materiality, and body [...] It is a question of the question of tragedy, the non-representable at the expense of the image.” Non-representability takes different shapes in his film practice, from the study of absence and its effects on the bodies surrounding it, to a filmmaking approach that captures people as well as “the wind that comes after someone is gone” with the same commitment and tenderness.
The retrospective includes conversations with four of Kvedaravičius’ close collaborators, which will take place after each screening. Conversations will be held with Ieva Raubiško, social anthropologist and field research companion in Chechnya during the filming of Barzakh; Irina Prudkova, production manager for Mariupolis; Kaspars Goba, Parthenon first assistant director; and Hanna Bilobrova, Kvedaravičius’ partner and co-director of Mariupolis 2.
Drealized within the framework of Archive außer sich, a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of The New Alphabet, a HKW project supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag. Curated by the Harun Farocki Institut and Rosa Barotsi.