Lithuania. 2019. 90 min
Ambitious twenty-something research psychologist Indrė (Indrė Patkauskaitė) has recently joined the team of a major clinic in Vilnius. A young patient, Paulius (Paulius Markevičius), who is suffering from bipolar disorder, needs to be transported to another facility in the seaside town of Palanga. Indrė is ordered to drive him there, and she reluctantly agrees on condition that she will gain more privileges. She has also been asked to take Justė (Gelminė Glemžaitė) along, a young woman who is being treated after a suicide attempt, as well as the clinic’s head nurse, Danguolė (Vilija Grigaitytė). Forming an unconventional group, they will embark on an unexpected road trip that, over and above the actual journey to the sea, will be a reason for them to reveal their own inner battles and their struggles for survival.
Kavtaradzė delivers an exceptionally sensitive and heart-warming film. While it deals with an extremely tough issue, the different aspects of mental disorders, it manages to retain its humour and carefree nature, offering a never-before-seen take on a world that is usually depicted in a more obscure fashion. Summer Survivors is not just another bleak drama about patients’ struggles, but rather portrays their courage and their determination to live a life that is not governed by their illnesses. The director brings the viewer extremely close to the heroes, so their invisible mental battles are still present, but they no longer seem so distant. They are just another element of each person’s personality.
Born in 1991, film director and screenwriter Marija Kavtaradzė graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater’s Film Directing program in 2014. Her short film I’m Twenty Something (2014) was named Best Student Film at the Lithuanian Film Academy’s Silver Crane Awards in 2015. She co-wrote the feature film The Saint (2016), directed by Andrius Blaževičius, which premiered internationally and had a very successful box office run in Lithuania. Considered to be among the most talented up-and-coming filmmakers in Lithuania today, Marija Kavtaradzė received funding from the Lithuanian Film Center for her debut feature film Summer Survivors.
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