Before Flying Back to Earth

Dir. Arunas Matelis, TAG/TRAUM, Studio Nominum, 2005 | 52′, Germany, Lithuania 

The film project was presented at the Baltic Sea Docs 2001.

A gracefully expressive depiction of daily life in a pediatric hospital in Vilnius that provides long-term care for children with leukemia. In the beginning the hospital seems like a distant, alien world lacking in colour and warmth, although populated by kind strangers. Toys are created from hospital equipment, new friendships are formed in the oncology department. This poetic Lithuanian documentary examines without sentimentality the resilience of the human spirit. Film critics have compared it to a haiku due to its laconic style and simple form.

“Before Flying Back to Earth” is one of the most internationally recognized Lithuanian documentary films it received top awards at Europe’s most significant documentary film festivals, including IDFA in Amsterdam and at DOK Leipzig. Director Arunas Matelis’ daughter spent eight months in this hospital. After she recovered, the director returned to the hospital with a film camera.

In Lithuanian and Russian with Latvian or English subtitles.