Pilgrims is the latest entry for International Feature from Lithuania. The film takes place in a small town in Lithuania called Karmaleva, around an hour away from Vilnius. It’s focused on two individuals, Paulius and Indre, two childhood friends who have known each other since the 3rd grade. Now as adults, they meet up again for a journey into the past.
Paulius and Indre are remembering an incident that happened four years ago. The two friends are re-stepping all the sites from a murder that happened to a loved one. They go from site to site, from witness to witness trying to find new information about what happened that night. It’s an inescapable trail of brutality and mortification with no real answers. It’s a slow-burn chilling portrayal of living with endless survivor’s guilt.
It’s the inability to move on.
Director Laurynas Bareisa has created a thoughtful, meditative, quiet film about grief. It’s filled with questions of what ifs or what could’ve happened if someone reacted differently during the events of that night. It’s about how different people deal with such an atrocity and about how individuals blame themselves or blame others for the crime. It’s about the failure to ever be satisfied. Paulius and Indre are done with feeling sorrow. They’re done with looking for support from others. They are people simply looking for answers wanting to understand. It's about venting ones frustrations at others and wanting somebody to reveal new information that just doesn’t exist. It’s about realizing that sometimes one has to keep moving through life accepting that closure is something that they might never get. It’s one of the most realistic portrayals of long term grief. Nothing is satisfying in the end except having more questions about why this sort of thing could’ve happened. It’s like an endless pilgrimage.