A Visual Case Study
On the eve of becoming “the brightest” new EU member, Lithuanian citizens are following they mundane, day-to-day routine and their attempts to understand and adopt Western-like-life. In the series of satirical sketches, this film examines the mimicking behavior in social, political and cultural field of the post-soviet state – Lithuania.
While the state is busy preparing to celebrate a new historical event, the working class is drowned in their routine and mundane boredom. Enthusiasm has vanished long time ago, now only a feeling of apathy remains.
Anastasija Pirozenko’s “Syndromes Of Mimicry” examines the concept of imitative behavior in a post-Soviet nation’s day-to-day life. What is it like to gain the recognition and appreciation of the West? Will a pompous light show bring happiness and prosperity to the people’s lives?
Rather than bringing laughter, “Syndromes Of Mimicry” shares satirical qualities and puts forth a criticism of the blind Westernization processes and lack of authenticity in post-Soviet Lithuania. It invites the viewer to rethink the present state in the nation’s tedious life.
Photo: Dalia Mikonytė & Aurimas Matulaitis
After proclaiming independence in 1990, Lithuania went through the transformative process, when for the first time in 50 years the borders were open for the Western society. This brought a feeling of freedom and unlimited possibilities, introducing unseen, colourful products, and an overwhelming sense of the well-being and the liberating Western life-style. Westernisation became the new measure of legitimacy! At that time a Eurocentric child was born, who attempted to shake off the post-Soviet past.
The aesthetics of mimicry comes from a desire to be accepted, in this case the desire to be accepted by the Western world. Voluntary westernisation (self-colonization) has been followed by mimicking the cultural, social and political structures of the West. Nevertheless, if we approach mimicry as the new aesthetics, or our own aesthetics, it might become a tool for creating national identity. For this reason, the post-Soviet nations can apply their syndrome of compensatory behavior, as the mockery or rather our own version of the West!
I tried to develop a script that would effectively be a replica of a society we are living, a slightly exaggerated version of an existing mimicry in Lithuanian daily life. I aimed to infuse a feeling of a routine into those mimicking actions. I aimed to employ humor to address modern political and social realities, mocking their vices.
The film is built from four main mise-en-scène, where the boundary between the boredom and the humorous twist blends together. I tried to create a feeling of stiffness in the environment and the actions film's characters are executing. I intended to make the passage of time very obvious, stagnant, filled with banality.
Crew & Cast
DIRECTOR & SCRIPT
1st CAMERA ASSISTANT
2nd CAMERA ASSISTANT
Stella Van Voorst Van Beest
FOLEY & SOUND DESIGN
Ronnie Van Der Veer
MAKE UP ARTIST
Aliona Van Der Hoorst
Aleksandras Aniukštis – Dancing Man
Dainius Juzva – Businessman
Toye Samson Abiodun - Hussar
Laima Užurkaitė - Equal Opportunities Ombudsman
Rimas Morkūnas – News Reporter
Darius Saženis – Singer
Denis Senin – Yoga Teacher
Eugenija Stakėnienė – Dancing Woman