Before Flying Back to the Earth (Pries parskrendant i zeme) (2006)




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Movie Info

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.


Critic Reviews for Before Flying Back to the Earth (Pries parskrendant i zeme)

All Critics (1)

Incredible journey begs a question.

Aug 27, 2009 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Before Flying Back to the Earth (Pries parskrendant i zeme)


Before Flying Back to the Earth is a Lithuanian documentary about children living with leukemia at a pediatric hopsital. It's not as emotional as expected, even so, sad. It makes us think about life, about how wrong we live, complaining over nothing. It ends in an abrupt way letting the feeling that more could've been said, but maybe there's not really much else to say. Little angles full of joy and life, despite all. * very beautiful black and white photos.

Rubia  Carolina
Rubia Carolina

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