Lithuania, France, 61 min
During the second world war, a Lithuanian farmer found the remains of three dead soldiers—two Russians and a German—near his house. Fearing reprisals, he quickly buried them in a ravine where he planted a tree to mark the spot. Seventy years later, his son organises an archaeological dig to find their remains and give them a dignified burial. Thus begins Cenotaph (VDR 2014), which patiently follows this uncertain quest (digging with no reference point other than oral history) like a Sisyphean play, whose second act is played out in the endless intricacies of the archives, a place of institutional memory. Stonys thus weaves a troubling correlation between the disintegration/restitution of the body in the terrestrial humus and its “phantom”, a name on a form waiting on a shelf for the return of he who carried it into the community of men. In this way, the Lithuanian filmmaker deploys a dizzying meditation on time and space which also, implicitly, pays tribute to the strength and depth of human sentiments.