Maria has not had the easiest night. A split lip, a broken front door and a missing boyfriend. Vytas has run away after another manic episode, but this time he doesn’t want to be found. He challenges his girlfriend Maria to a sort of hide-and-seek race, and Maria starts to run. Her chase leads through waitressing shifts, public transport, doctor’s offices, and through a series of coincidences in space and time. She is ready to run through the whole city if that’s what it takes to find him. Chasing love, Maria is always one step behind.
Andrius Blaževičius’ dynamic drama, which screened in the East of the West section at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, has parallels to Tom Tykwer’s RunLola Run (1998) and especially to Franka Potente’s live-die-repeat sprints through Berlin. Charismatic actress Žygimantė Elena Jakštaitė stands out in Blaževičius’ second feature film. Her powerful performance as 20-year-old Maria and the freedom of movement she embodies rise above societal inertia and the city’s textures and helped the actress win the European Young Actor Award for Shooting Stars at this year’s Berlinale.
RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition 2021
Jury statement: This film stood out in the competition as a remarkable accomplishment and impressive
exploration of the relationship between mental health, empathy, and technology through a nail-biting urban journey. Additionally, this film’s complex and layered lead performance will stay with us for a long time. For its powerful and momentous storytelling, the jury awards Runner as the winner of RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition 2021.