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Sharunas Bartas

Integral retrospective

5 Feb - 6 Mar 2016

The event is over

The House, de Sharunas Bartas, 1997

With his new film Peace to Us in Our Dreams (Cannes Festival 2015) going on general release on 10 February, the Centre Pompidou has offered the great Lithuanian filmmaker an integral retrospective and also commissioned a new short from him, Où en êtes-vous, Sharunas Bartas?

Sylvie Pras – How did you come to film?
Sharunas Bartas – I started filming in 1983 – well before the collapse of the USSR. I chose film as a way of expressing myself. At 18, I was already using a 16mm camera. At 19, I made an expedition to Siberia to shoot a film. On returning to Lithuania, I worked in 35mm at an amateur film studio. In the USSR, unfortunately, it was impossible to get onto the big screen without attending the country’s only film school, the VGIK in Moscow. So that’s where I went, in 1986.

SP – Your films seem to emerge from the very places where they’re shot. Some of them are voyages to the extremes. How do you think of them?
SB - At the age of 16 I took part in a canoe expedition in the Eastern Sayan mountains in Siberia. It was a difficult journey. On the way there was a village of nomads, of Tofalars, a Siberian people who are dying out. Their extreme poverty, contrasting with the splendour of the mountains, made a lasting impression on me. I thought of different ways of communicating this and I realised that only film could do it. I went back there twice: once for Tofolaria, a documentary in 1985, and again for Few of Us, a fiction, in 1996.

SP – Time, like space, seems very palpable in your films. Is the physical experience of time and space important to you?
SB – I’ve always been attracted to new places. While scouting locations for The House I travelled through Western Europe, thinking I would probably find what I needed in the south of France. In fact, I ended up in Southern Spain, from where I took a ferry to Morocco. In the end, I found the house outside Vilnius, very close to home. But I went back to Morocco for Freedom: I needed an endless desert. Places and natural environments are fundamental to my films. I choose them carefully as the setting for a moment in the life of my characters. I take lots of photos to be sure that the first impression isn’t forgotten. Places lay down their conditions, which I cannot ignore. As for time, there is an algorithm specific to cinema, a certain compression which once effected has to be maintained.

SP – You’re often chief cameraman on your own films, and you’ve always taken photographs. What’s important to you in a shot, an image?
SB – What is important is the axis within the frame that attracts the viewers eye, the viewer’s attention. It is composition and light that create this axis. I had to master these, and sound as well, to communicate what I feel.

Interviewed by Sylvie Pras
film officer, Department of Cultural Development

The House, de Sharunas Bartas, 1997


5 Feb - 6 Mar 2016
every days except tuesdays

Rencontre dédicace à l'occasion de la parution du livre Sharunas Bartas ou les hautes solitudes

sous la direction de Robert Bonamy, co-édition De l'incidence éditeur-Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2016


samedi 13 février à 18h30, niveau -1, devant la Petite Salle


Cinéma 2
Cinema 1
Petite Salle


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