A powerful and subtle character film about the midlife crisis of a group of friends in which betrayal, romance and disappointment eventually turn out to be no stronger than their mutual and essential comradeship.
Valdas Navasaitis worked in Siberia with director Sharunas Bartas on one of his films and studied at the Moscow Film Institute, where he was seen as one of the most promising directors from Lithuania, evoking surprise with his poetic documentaries. In Perpetuum mobile, his second feature after The Courtyard (1999), he reveals himself to be a master of restrained acting and barely revealed narrative lines. In this, he created paradoxically enough a very outspoken film about the midlife crisis of several friends. It focuses on Ron, a divorced man with a small son he doesn't see very often who wastes his time with drinking and playing cards in the bar run by his childhood friend Adi. Here he meets Dina, an intriguingly beautiful woman who seems to have her own bond with Adi. When Ron is thrown out of the bar for being drunk and in debt, Adi steals the takings and they set off on an impetuous adventure, she more determined than he. Navasaitis does not film with grand gestures but allows his characters to play out sharp dialogues in the constellation of old friendships within which fidelity but also misty dependencies shape the course of events. When Ron and Dina have holed up for a long time and are able to take the great step overseas, young love gets bogged down. In Perpetuum mobile, male comradeship triumphs over romantic love. (LC) ★★☆☆☆