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The Role of a Lifetime

Deimantas Narkevicius

Lithuania, 2003
17 minutes, Colour/B&W, Stereo, 4:3
Original format: 8mm, Super 8mm and 35mm film
Available formats: DVD / SD Digital file / Digibeta tape

Narkevicius’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. Narkevicius’s film emphasises 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.