A young freedom fighter and a KGB operative both grew up during the Soviet era. Today they describe what made them choose their different directions. After many years of waiting for her husband to return from a psychiatric hospital-prison, a dissident’s wife tries to fill the enormous vacuum in his memory. A writer for the underground press who was sentenced to seven years in exile meets his former interrogator. A collector of antiques goes to a hotel in the centre of Vilnius where he was once arrested, and afterwards disappeared for nine months, looking for answers to unanswered questions.
‘When we Talk about the KGB’ consists of seven heart-rending life stories, pointing to the lingering guilt over Soviet crimes, and the euphoria over the victory of freedom.
It all started when I arrived at the Vilnius International Film Festival to present my previous film "Gerber syndrome” and visited the Genocide Museum. I will never forget the sensation down there - dark prison, mold smell, harrowing stories told by the guide in English with a strong accent. After returning to Italy, this first impression stimulated me to gather more information. Then I realized that we, Western Europeans, know nothing about what really happened in the Soviet Union, including me. With Virginia we defined the period – 80’s. We were born at that time, we can still find people who have had experience what was KGB, and they can still share it with us by themself.
Each of the characters look into their past through the prism of their own, they convey their story with their way of talking and their own character. In this documentary I want to create a separate visual space for each story. Each story is a separate "micro" world, so I want the viewer to feel like entering into a different space, a different visual atmosphere. For example, I saw story if Algirdas and Ona as a series of moving watercolors pictures. Watercolor is such a gentle, dreamy painting genre, which could reflect the gentle relationship between the two, but it also reflects memories that are fading. One of them are fading because of memory, others are made to fade so that dark past would be finally forgotten.
For a long time the question about structure of the film was under consideration - whether it will be individual episodes, located one after the other or it will be a parallel montage. Both if it seemed equally strong and equally dangerous. If one would see the KGB as a character, after analyzing the traces left by, he would face always the narrative - someone does something, someone makes a complain about someone, then these “someones” are being spied, detected, arrested, interrogated, etc. Structure of the film will be constructed on the bases of these stages. Characters will be interlaced in the framework of the structure talking out parts that best represents the stages. For example story of Zigfrydas is strong in the stage of arrestment; story of Julius is most meaningful in the stages of pre- arrestment and post-imprisonment. Story of Mr. Skuodis and Mr. Urbonas is a story of interogation that is happining in nowdays. 30 years after the actual interrogations.