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No one Wanted to Die

Niekas nenorėjo mirti
Director: Vytautas Žalakevičius

USSR, Lithuania, Drama, 1966, 100 min

For Lithuanian viewers this perfectly known film shows dramatic events in a small Lithuanian village community, where people are split between the soviet supporters and the “brothers in the woods” – anti-Soviet guerrillas – who are fighting to defend their land from the Soviets after the end of the Second World War. The film story is about the revenge of the sons of a village chairman, who is killed by guerrillas. The choice to make the film following some Western genre conventions allowed Žalakevičus approach the soviet version of recent Lithuanian history in a more open and humanistic way. Nobody wanted to die – neither the father who was killed, nor the Brothers from the forest; and nobody wanted to kill, either.

 
Awards:
 
1966 – The Best Actor prize for Donatas Banionis at the 15th International Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Bulgaria).
1966 – First Prizes for the best male actor and for the best script at the Kiev Film festival (Ukraine).
 
About the director:
 
Vytautas Žalakevičius (1930–1996) was a notable Lithuanian director, who was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. From 1948–1950 he studied to become an engineer at the Kaunas State University. He then went to Moscow and studied directing at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). Žalakevičius graduated from VGIK in 1956. His first independent full-length feature film was “Adam Wants to Be a Man” (Adomas nori būti žmogumi, 1959) gained a lot of attention. Žalakevičius was able to develop his own highly original style during the political changes in the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. Žalakevičius was the winner of the 1973 Gold Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival for the film “That Sweet Word: Liberty!” (Tas saldus žodis laisvė, 1973). From 1974 to 1980, Žalakevičius worked at the Mosfilm Studios in Moscow. The Lithuanian film director was also honoured with the titles of People's Artist of the Soviet Union (1980) and People's Artist of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic (1981). He was Vice-Chairman of the Lithuanian State Committee for Cinematography. He also taught film directing in Moscow and Vilnius academies, and several of his students became established filmmakers.
 
Screenplay: Vytautas Žalakevičius

Dir. of Photography: Jonas Gricius

Music: Algimantas Apanavičius

Cast: Regimantas Adomaitis, Juozas Budraitis, Algimantas Masiulis, Donatas Banionis