Lithuania – Vladas Rožėnas, Skalvija (Vilnius)

Cinema for me is…

Lithuania – Vladas Rožėnas from Europa Cinemas on Vimeo.

Vladas in 25 frames…

1. Describe yourself in ten words
I can wiggle my ears, and like watermelons. Also, philosophy.

2. What are your 3 best qualities and your 3 worst habits?
3 best qualities: Hardworking (almost a workaholic if I like the work), sense of humor, I stand by what I believe
3 worst habits: If I don’t like the thing, I procrastinate (taxes, work for lectures I don’t like, etc.), I don’t think of my own future enough, I scream at technology when it doesn’t work.

3. What is your dream job?

4. What do you like most about your country?
We have a very rich literary history, sadly completely not know abroad, but truly exceptional.

5. What is your favorite dish in your country?
Pizza. Technically, it’s in my country.

6. What is the word or the expression in your native language that you like the most and what does it mean?
“Viltis durnių motina” – means something like “hope is the mother of all idiots”. I like it because it’s such a downer, can’t think of anything similar in English – really shows the negative side of Lithuanian mentality.

7. What European capital have you visited lately?

8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
The Netherlands, probably. If language isn’t a barrier, then Germany.

9. What does Europe mean to you?
Hopefully and most importantly, it should mean a united block willing to defend itself from a certain Eastern country. Unity is sadly not the prevailing theme in Europe these last months, but hopefully it will be a wake-up call of a year and the continent can keep faith in the principles of multiculturalism and civil liberties.

10. What are the European values that you share?
Civil liberties, human rights – my views are very liberal as far as values go.

11. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
Apart from children movies, Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese was the first I really loved, I was maybe 14 or so.

12. What is your favorite cinema theatre and what do you like about it?
“Pasaka”. I worked there as volunteer for two years and got to live the everyday life of theatre employees so often filmed. Saw a few great movies too.

13. Where do you like to watch movies and on which platform (DVD, online, cinema, mobile phone, etc.)?
Cinema preferably. If not, on my laptop.

14. Who is your movie hero?
Jeff Bridges “the Dude” played by Jeff Lebowski in The Big Lebowski by Coen brothers.

15. If you were a movie director which one would you like to be?
Either Godard or Coen brothers. It’s all about the freedom and in Godard’s days, he could make four movies a year, even if they didn’t make much money. Brothers Coen today can do pretty much whatever they want, so they would be a good bet too. As for the content of the movies, I’d like to make my own, wouldn’t want to be anyone.

16. Briefly describe your favorite scene
The end dance of Beau Travail by Claire Denis (huge spoilers ahead). A soldier, who was reserved and cold the entire movie, does a fantastic, chaotic, animalistic dance. The scene is right after what should be interpreted as his suicide letter. The whole dance is a metaphor for death. Not as the end of life, but as the end of all that is possible, thus being true definition of oneself. It is the liberation from the society. He, who has spent his life being one of the many, a soldier in the army, almost indistinguishable from the others, has a chance to truly, for the first time, in death, become himself. We can see someone having out life, our choices, our hobbies, our actions, but it is impossible for anyone else to die our death. This is a much shortened Heideggerian interpretation, I could go on a lot longer.

17. What are the 5 best European films you have seen in the last year?
45 years (Andrew Haigh, 2015) GB,
Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016) FR,
6A (Peter Modestij, 2016) SE,
The Dreamed Ones (Ruth Beckermann, 2016), AT
Mon Roi (Maïwenn, 2015) FR

18. Which is the film character that you most identify with?
Lesley the Pony

19. What is your favorite soundtrack or song?
David Shire – in The Conversation by Francis Ford Coppola.

20. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Edgar Wright.

21. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
Jason Alexander (the guy who plays George Costanza in Seinfeld).

22. Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to create music.

23. What is your most treasured possession?
My computer, because it’s the most expensive.

24. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When I was in the third grade, my teacher enrolled me in this math contest with all the brightest third graders in my school. For some reason it had ten stages, and in the end would sum up the scores to get a winner. So on the second week, much to my surprise, I found out I had won the first one. The third week they tell me I won last week too. And the next one. And the next. After 8 tours, I had won 7.
By the last two weeks, I was really bored with it, because I had to go every single week. So I just didn’t go to the last two tours. And the week after last, when the school had a ceremony for the third grades, I also did not go. I didn’t have anything to do, so my friend and I went to this skate park, it was raining so we just stood under the ramps talking. But I still thought it was better than listening to the principle’s speech.
It turned out I had won the first 8 weeks by so much, I still won the whole thing. My classmate brought me cake and a medal. They were declaring to all my contestants that I beat them despite missing the last two tours, and I generally did not care. I will never be that cool again.

25. What is your motto?
Don’t have one.

Vladas Rožėnas is the Ambassador of Skalvija. Find out more about the cinema here.

Postcard from Venice: