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Wanderer

About this film

One could, and should, say that Man has lost touch with Nature. Even though there is a movement in some parts of the world to reconnect with it, the overall attitude is one of exploitation rather than of contemplation and appreciation. Lithuanian director Martynas Kundrotas uses film in order to re-familiarise us with our surrounding. His wanderer, a young man, roams around in the fields, in the woods. He looks attentively at the small details we so often overlook. He feels the bark of a tree he comes across, and he follows the sounds that make this environment so peaceful.

Wanderer is a very simple film. There is no narrative arch, there is no suspense. Rather, Kundrotas puts emphasis on the slowness and the quietude of Nature, and invites us to rediscover what many of us have lost: namely the feeling for our natural surrounding. It encourages us to go out, to re-discover, to re-familiarise, and to retreat into the little wonders around us.

Nadin Mai (tao films)

Interview with the Director
Martynas, I find that, in most cases, people no longer notice nature. They don’t notice the wind in the trees. I lived in a place where there was basically no green at all, and I only noticed just how bad this was once I moved away. Your film takes us into the woods and onto wide fields. Why did you choose this particular subject?

It wasn't really a choice. It's just something I feel comfortable with. I like wandering around in nature, being alone and searching for things that I find interesting. At times I'm also taking my camera with me and make these 2-3 min long films of important moments I encounter, so you could say that this film was a combination of these short moments. I was also very inspired by the poems of Matsuo Basho (Japanese poet). There's so much truth expressed in just a few lines and on the most simple things. The film is a bit of a tribute to him.

Wanderer is such a simple film. One could say that there is nothing special about it. But you allow us - sometimes with the help of close-ups - to see what we would usually ignore, such as berries. It’s the small and simple things that matter in your film.

Since I started being interested in making films I wanted them to be devoid of any conflict. I like observing the world, the details, hearing the sounds. It gives me great pleasure. For me it's not the idea that matters, it's the experience. I think there's no difference in what you show, it's the sincerity of it. So through these simple things I strive to get near a certain truth.

I have a question about your sound design. The sound of birds, of insects - it’s all very clear, and, I find, soothing too. How did you manage this clear sound design?

This is all thanks to my sound designer Mateusz Drozd. Since there was no sound recorded during shooting, we had to do everything in post. The soundtrack is a mix of field recordings in various places and foley sounds. The clarity was a goal from the very beginning. I think the details let the viewer be more immersed in the experience.

There is a scene in which your Wanderer stands in the rain. It is a common picture for me that people begin to run for cover, or open their umbrellas. They do everything to avoid rain. Your Wanderer seems to enjoy it.

It's a very personal thing for me. I have always liked rain; the sound of it when it hits the leaves; the warmth of it in the summer and the state of mind I fall into when watching it. For me rain is something positive. It sort of washes the bad things away and makes things much clearer.

Where did you shoot the film? Did you have a script for it, or did you just start to film and then followed where the footage you were recording was taking you?

It was shot in Lithuania, in a small valley that my grandparents were living in before they died. I searched for locations to shoot this, but then remembered that there's a place already and which I also know very well. I spent all my summers there, in this forest and near this river. I think it's a good thing to choose locations you understand and have a past with.

The film was a mix of written and completely spontaneous scenes. There was a list of things I wanted to do, some scenes were fleshed out in more detail, some only in a few words. But in nature anything you thought of is not that important. You usually just try to catch the beautiful moments that are happening. The sun might not shine, there might be no rain and you could get a storm instead of tranquility. So we followed the things we wanted to do but were vigilant to everything happening around us.

Are you currently working on a new project?

Yes, right now I plan to shoot another project this summer. It will be a quiet film centred on two people and set near a beautiful lake in the Lithuanian woods.

Thank you for this interview, Martynas!