Šarūnas BARTAS (1964-) – Lithuanian film director, one of the most outstanding representatives of cinematographers. His contacts with cinema began in 1985 with the TV serial “Sixteen-years-olds” (dir. Raimondas Banionis), where Bartas played one of the main roles. He is a graduate of the Moscow Film School (VGIK). He made his directorial debut with his diploma film, the short documentary “Tofolaria” and mediocre-length film (which called spectators’ attention) “For the Remembrance of Last Day” (1989), where the real personages are “acting themselves” according to the principles of feature film. The author further “purified” the specific cinema language in the full-length film “Three Days” (1991), which was awarded the prize of oicumene committee at Berlin Film Festival (for the problems, the importance of the theme, the profundity) in 1992, and FIPRESCI Prize for the originality of the style, the significance of the theme, the beauty of pictures. This is a story (almost without plot… read more
Well, I resent the comparisons -- as when any filmmaker uses long shots, minimal editing, and seems attuned to a more natural rhythm... they say, "Oh, he's like Tarkovsky." Bartas was not spared this connection. I only wanted to point out their differences. Comparing him to Demille might seem like comparing Obama to Hitler. I didn't mean for it to come across so reactionary. But, if you watch Bartas, you will see that nothing compares to the silence, the stillness, quiet waiting, devotional tone, of Bartas. There's something somewhat irrational in Bartas that I don't find in Tarkovsky, too. Perhaps its because I've watched Tarkovsky too many times, but I don't think the hermeticism of his images is all that cryptic. It's easy to spot certain visual motifs and themes that keep arising, but less so with Bartas.
Bartas has redefined cinema for me. As much as Bresson did, or Tarkovsky. Tarkovsky comes across as Cecil B. Demille compared to Bartas, excessive and even vulgar. Bartas is even more naturalistic, nuanced, poetic. One day his oeuvre will be considered a quintessential part of cinematic history.