Thoughts On: Forest Of The Gods - Hush

18/01/2019

Forest Of The Gods - Hush

Quick Thoughts: Forest Of The Gods (Dievų Miškas, 2005)


Made by Algimantas Puipa, this is the Lithuanian film of the series.


Forest Of The Gods is a war/prison movie that attempts to reveal the absurdities of imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. Unlike realist dramas, such as Schindler's List and The Pianist, that explore similar subject matter, Forest Of The Gods has a distant gaze. This then means not to project the horror of unthinkable conditions, rather to emphasise their almost uncanny malevolence; the peculiarities of will and the drudgery of survival. In addition to this, we move between war and post-war times, to see how our protagonist, a so-called opinionated professor and political disturbance, reflects upon his years of torture by theatricalising memory. From this comes the narrative's cold edge. It matters not if characters survive--such is not a narrative question: we are told how most characters die - if they do - as we meet them, and we see that our protagonist makes it through. This film cares not for tension of such a kind. Matter-of-factly, Forest Of The Gods presents what was alongside the lamentations of a professor unable to present to the world his torture on the stage due to the corruption of his communist government. There is then a cycle of doom embedded in this narrative, the mid-20th century in Central and Eastern Europe presented as an abysmal cage patrolled by a great hush and many thousands of small stabs.

The verisimilitude that Forest Of The Gods is so dependent on as a projection of apparently uncanny sadism has been called into question by a survivor of Stutthof concentration camp, who calls the film inaccurate nonsense (link here to the interview). This does damage to the impact that Forest Of The Gods has, but I leave things here with you. Have you seen this film? What are your thoughts?

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