Bogdanas Longs to Stay։ Reasons to Stay

English Daily #2
Bogdanas Longs to Stay (Marat Sargsyan, Lithuania, 2023), International Competition, 10-7 10:00 House of Cinema Grand Hall, 10-7 18:00 Moscow Cinema Blue Hall

Beautifully shot, in a black-and-white aesthetic akin to a fiction film, director Marat Sargsyan’s documentary Bogdanas Longs to Stay quietly and patiently follows the students of a correctional institution. Their language of communication is aggression: pushing, kicking, cursing. Yet, at least that language is clear and direct. The boys steal ice cream from each other, but also diligently clean their rooms. Around the school, they endlessly hit each other and argue, while also saving sick birds and trying to answer really difficult questions. What was the happiest moment of their lives? Obviously, they want to forget the correctional school. To go on Facebook, write to their friends, go on dates. And of course, see their parents.

One protagonist starts standing out from this noisy collective. As it is Bogdanas who truly wants to stay at this boarding school for minors with drug, law and behavior problems. Perhaps he is ashamed of his bad grades? Perhaps he wants to enjoy the peace at the school, free of bullies? Or perhaps he is just afraid. From whom? From his mother? From his former friends or from himself? From his imperfections? From the fact that his mother, who likes to be photographed so much, will not want to be photographed with him? What a bittersweet film this is. Even the bird that fell down in the yard of the boarding house eventually manages to soar over the fence, yet this "ugly duckling" seems to have a lesser chance of succeeding.

Sona Arsenyan