Arunas Matelis’ film is a gracefully expressive journey into the lives of children living with leukemia at a pediatric hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania. The children enter into an alien world, bereft of color and warmth, but populated with kind strangers. Their new toys are invented out of stainless steel, and new friendships are formed in the crucible of the cancer ward. Inured to the routine of daily medication and meals that alternate between porridge and cabbage soup, the children dream of life beyond the clinic’s thick cement walls while their parents bear the burden of uncertainty about their children’s fate. The filmmaker spent eight months at this very hospital while his own daughter battled leukemia. After her successful recovery he returned to the ward, with his camera in tow, to make a record of the young patients and their families who had become his friends. Arunas returns to the ward to create a film full of life and magic moments in the face of non-existence. The children’s intimate relationship with Matelis is evident in their ease with his camera. He eloquently juxtaposes their accounts with still black and white photos capturing simple moments. As the seasons outside change from pristine winter snow to verdant summer, daily life in the hospital remains the same. Yet it is not despair, but rather hope and innocence that Matelis so eloquently captures. While this is a film about cancer, cancer is not the thing you remember. Ultimately, this is a story about the force of life which is more powerful than the specter of death. A poetic, unsentimental film about the resilience of the human spirit. —IMDb
Arūnas Matelis was born in 1961 in Vilnius, Lithuania. 1979 –1983 he studies in the Vilnius University faculty of mathematics. 1984 –1989 he graduated from Lithuanian Music Academy, Theatre and TV faculty. 1992 Arūnas Matelis established one of the first independent film production companies in Lithuania called Nominum. Films directed and produced by A. Matelis are basically focusing on creative documentary, based on Arunas’ idea-manifest of “total cinema or poetic documentary”. Arūnas Matelis has directed 10 documentaries and produced about 20 films. Films directed by Arūnas Matelis were awarded and presented in many film festivals around the world like Cannes, Rotterdam, Torino, San Paulo, Oberhausen and others.
Since 1994 A. Matelis is a delegated member (from Lithuanian Filmmakers Union) of Lithuanian Radio and TV Commission. He was a chairman of Lithuanian film experts’ board for several years. Jury member in Bornholm (Denmark), documentary and TV film festival. A. Matelis… read more