The Role of a Lifetime

Deimantas Narkevičius

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Staff Picks The Role of a Lifetime
Deimantas Narkevičius

17 Minutes

Staff Picks

March 1–31, 2022

Narkevičius’s film combines three distinct elements. The first is his interview with Peter Watkins, recorded in Lithuania where Watkins lived for many years following his self-imposed exile from Britain. The second is a sequence of landscape drawings, some depicting an unusual theme park, Gruto Park, repository of statues from the Soviet era. The third comprises scenes of Brighton shot over an extended period by an amateur film enthusiast and never intended for public consumption. These nostalgic and sometimes elegiac film sequences provide a surprisingly apposite counterpoint to Watkins’s commentary on the work of the documentary film director. The Role of a Lifetime raises questions about the ethical and social responsibilities of the artist and about the relationship between cinematic representation and historical record. Narkevičius’s film emphasizes the value of doubt and the impossibility of objectivity, while providing us with an intimate portrait of one of Britain’s most distinguished and original filmmakers. (Teresa Gleadowe)

The Role of a Lifetime is presented on e-flux Video & Film as the March 2022 edition of Staff Picks.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Documentary, History, Historicity & Historiography, Soviet Union, United Kingdom
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Deimantas Narkevičius (b. 1964, Lithuania) lives and works in Vilnius. Originally trained as a sculptor, Narkevičius tarted using film during the early nineties. Employing documentary footage, voice-overs, interviews, re-enactments, and found photographs, his films submit historical events to the narrative structures of storytelling and cinema. In his artistic practice Narkevičius examines the relationship of personal memories to political histories, particularly those of his native Lithuania. Eschewing the common features of contemporary documentaries, the central characters of Narkevičius’s narratives are often absent from the screen, replaced by objects, drawings, and other surrogates.He has exhibited extensively around the world at including at Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Tate Modern (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the 49th and 50th Venice biennials, and Manifesta II and X. In 2008, Narkevičius was awarded the Vincent Award and the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts, and in 2017, the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius held a major retrospective of his work.


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