Director: Sharunus Bartas

Cast: Arvydas Dapsys, Marius Povilas Elijas Martinenko, Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene, Valdas Virgailis, Vita Siauciunaite

Genre: Drama

128 minutes – Lithuanian with English subtitles (2020)

During a foreign peacekeeping mission in the middle of desolate mountains three young Dutch soldiers are left to guard a military vehicle by themselves. As their situation and the scorching desert heat renders them increasingly disconnected from reality, an encounter with a local boy precipitates a series of events that will mark their lives forever.

There are no war battles in this film; war is the background context for a clash between duty, pragmatism, and idealism.  Ultimately,  immaturity and inexperience will lead to loss of innocence and reflection on life’s big questions. Outstanding performances from the young cast and a tight, taut storyline in this psychological thriller earned it selection as the Dutch entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. 

As sharply engineered as a reel of razor wire…

Jessica Kiang, Variety

Shariff Korver’s simple, slow-burning tale is crafted with a stripped-down sincerity that makes for a powerfully effective drama.

Allan Hunter, Screen International

The film starts behind a drum kit, Erik playing one last time, right before his mission, his excitement is clearly visible, laying bare his childlike innocence….he has no idea what it will actually be like….

Chris Frieswijk, Cineuropa

The film is a meditation on what happens when you throw unprepared youth into the crucible of battle, but also an examination of Western imperialism and its enduring legacy.

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Film Festival Today