Screening on June 28, director Romas Zabarauskas’ new film The Lawyer makes its theatrical New York debut at Scandinavia House! Life drifts by for an affluent gay corporate lawyer Marius (Eimutis Kvoščiauskas), his time spent hosting dinner parties, enjoying art, and chasing young lovers. One day, Marius’ estranged father dies. Mourning turns to love as the lawyer finds an unexpected connection with a sex-cam worker Ali (Doğaç Yildiz) — a Syrian refugee stuck in Belgrade. (A film Q&A with the director will follow the screening.)
The first Lithuanian feature film focusing on a male same-sex romantic relationship and one of the very few fiction films about the LGBTQ+ refugee experience in Europe, The Lawyer has been hailed as “a socially astute, sensitive, and good-hearted look at interlocking identities, never losing the humanity of its two protagonists in the boxes where they could easily be relegated” (One Room With a View) and “a remarkably sensitive film that touches on universal emotions as well as societal issues both within the gay community and in the wider world” (Shadows On The Wall)
About the Director
From the Berlinale debut of his short Porno Melodrama (2011) to his third feature The Lawyer (2020) – selected for 30+ festivals, including seven opening, centerpiece or closing ceremonies – Romas Zabarauskas is an inspiring queer success from the New East. This Baltic enfant terrible introduced diversity to Lithuanian screens, delivering genre-bending films and reflecting on the (im)possibility of meaningful political action. Based in Vilnius with his fiancé Kornelijus, Romas gives back to the LGBT+ community through his activism, recognized with the Harvey Milk Foundation’s LGBTQ Champion Award in 2021.
His statement on the film: “In order to be respectful to the sensitive context of the refugee crisis, I’ve consulted on the script with Syrian journalist Anmar Hijazi; traveled to Lebanon and met HELEM, the first LGBT advocacy group in the Arab World; interviewed Syrian gay refugees online as well as refugees at Krnjaca camp in Belgrade, Serbia. That said, this story stays personal, as I want to discuss my own European privilege in the face of cruel events which are shaping global politics.”
Special thanks to the Lithuanian Culture Institute and Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in the USA .