The 6th Annual New York Baltic Film Festival (NYBFF) presented by Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America returns this November with the best new films from the Baltic region! This year’s lineup includes the North American Premiere of The Poet (Poetas, dir. Giedrius Tamoševičius & Vytautas V. Landsbergis, Lithuania, 2022), which follows the journey of a disgraced poet in post-war Lithuania who is recruited by the KGB to infiltrate a partisan group. The film will screen in-person at Scandinavia House on November 12 at 4:15 PM and virtually from November 13-19. **A film talk with director Giedrius Tamoševičius follows the screening.**
A talented poet (Donatas Želvys), who has been expelled from the Lithuanian Soviet Writers’ Union for his anti-Soviet writings, is recruited by the NKVD (later the KGB) in post-war Lithuania, and offered a chance to regain his elite status among Soviet writers in exchange for making contact with a group of forest-dwelling partisans. As a newly appointed teacher in a remote village, he grapples with his tarnished reputation, as children recite his coerced verses praising the Soviet regime while wary locals test his loyalties. His life takes a profound turn when an old friend leads him to the underground bunker of the Dainava resistance platoon, where he’s tasked with writing hopeful verses to inspire the oppressed.
Directors Giedrius Tamoševičius and Vytautas V. Landsbergis explore the moral dilemmas of survival, loyalty, and resistance in post-war Lithuania, capturing the struggle of a man torn between his principles, societal pressures, and the opportunity to make a difference. Rooted in historical accounts and true stories, the film authentically portrays the challenging choices individuals faced during this tumultuous period, offering a narrative of courage and sacrifice in the face of oppressive forces.