How does our memory work? Why do memories appear, and what is their real purpose? These themes are scrutinized by composer Dominykas Digimas and director Kristijonas Dirsė in a new musical film: “Why Does This Appear?” The basis of the script is the nine most vivid memories of seven characters of the film. However, this work’s narrative is built without words: only employing cinematic language and music that create nine silent scenes. Following the chain of memories, personal stories in the film are told and retold: every time mildly changing the emphasis of each memory. With the disappearing line between real and imaginary past experiences, the subjective nature of memory reveals itself. “Why Does This Appear?” is a film where the surreal world of silhouettes intertwines with a documentary: a kind of illusion whose actors are the performers of Vilnius contemporary music ensemble.
“Why does this appear?” is a silent musical film about memory. Seven people share memories from their lives. These stories come alive in shapes of silhouettes of people and objects, in the form of nine silent scenes – embodying those events and narrating them without words. The only means of expression are the cinematographic language and the sounds of music. The chain of memories begins from, at first glance, insignificant casual events – memories from yesterday. 1. A summer storm took Rūta and Liutauras by surprise at a cafe‘s terrace. 2. The tired eyes of Lora, who takes out her contact lenses and enjoys the sight of blurry road abstraction. From the most recent memories, following a wave of sand, we fall into the earliest memories of it: 3. Lora, stuffing the sand between the fingers, feeling the happiest person on Earth, 4. Agne, bored of playing alone, swallowing the earth she inhaled through the straw. Now we go back to the very first moments recorded in the characters’ memory: 5. Lora’s great-grandfather, who was the first person from whom she felt the lack of love. 6. Morta’s fourth birthday in communal gardens. 7. The first time Edvardas touches the burning-hot iron. 8. Novile’s first puff of cigarette when her mum had some friends over in a kitchen gathering. 9. Rūta’s first steps walking towards her mum, who’s mopping the wet floor. Every time before delving into these scenes, we see the characters, the authors of those memories, in the documentary interludes, showing the triggers of those memories in peoples’ daily lives. In the epilogue we come back to the only words we hear during the film – the question, raised in the beginning – “Why does this appear?”. The parallel between the surrealistic world of silhouettes and documentary interludes showing the emotion caused by the reenactment of the memory, suggests the causal relation between emotion and memory.