by Marta Bałaga
- In his fun feature debut, Titas Laucius schools his viewers on how to get an annulment through the Catholic Church – and survive
Here’s a fun little film that further proves that you can really laugh at everything in life – even at the Catholic Church court. It’s an institution that allows its believers to get marriage annulments and get hitched again at the altar, as long as they are willing to go through a few hoops. And to answer increasingly nosy questions about their sex lives of yesteryear.
In Titas Laucius’ Parade [+see also:
interview: Titas Laucius
film profile], shown in Tallinn Black Nights’ First Feature Competition, the couple in question has been divorced for a while now, and they have brand-new partners and kids, but so what? In the eyes of the Church, and her ex-husband’s girlfriend, Miglė (Rasa Samuolytė) is still his one and only. She agrees to help out – after all, his mother has just died – and soon finds herself re-watching their old wedding videos with a bunch of priests by her side.
It’s an odd concept, to “annul” a marriage that lasted many years and even resulted in children, but one that’s not that mysterious any more, also thanks to some high-profile celebs. The mere mention of the court makes people scared – “They will burn you like a witch,” suggests one helpful soul – but Laucius commits to keeping things light. It would be easy to imagine this story as incredibly painful or scary, with a woman forced to relive past indiscretions committed 20 years earlier while out camping. But Miglė doesn’t scare easily, and while she wants her ex (Giedrius Savickas) to be happy, or so she claims, she won’t be painted as a villain.
The sheer absurdity of this entire process invites gentle comedy, and Laucius, who’s also behind the script, delivers one-liners and awkwardly funny situations practically non-stop. “Damn, you scared me – I thought it was the other one,” says a girl upon hearing that her grandma has died, while her taxi-driver stepdad keeps airing his family’s secrets in front of his clients, as they squirm uncomfortably in their seats. This patchwork family has issues, and they get jealous of each other’s positions sometimes. But there is lots of love here as well, and warmth – much more so than accusations.
If there’s something that drags the story down, it’s the subplot about the kids’ orchestra that Miglė keeps prepping for an important gig, a proper parade, which seems plucked from a whole different film and literally ends up in the middle of muddy nowhere. But Samuolytė, spotted in 2019’s Nova Lituania [+see also:
interview: Karolis Kaupinis
film profile], is a pleasure to watch, often confused and easily triggered. Especially when lying about her ex’s inebriation at their own wedding. “That smell at the altar… All these years, I thought it was the priest.” Not a very polite statement, given her clerical, collar-wearing audience, but as they say: ask, and it shall be given you.
Parade was produced by Lithuania’s afterschool production.
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