Before Flying Back to the Earth

  • Germany
  • Lithuania
Audio Tracks 

Nowadays, death and disease take place in an extraterritorial realm, removed to the hospital where they can’t be seen by the healthy. From this hermetically sealed world, known only to patients, visitors and staff, it’s rare to receive a message that allows us to see our existence from a new perspective. The Lithuanian director Arunas Matelis has made a film about a children’s cancer unit in Vilnius that succeeds in doing precisely this. It focuses on a 12-year-old boy and accompanies him for a time, from his arrival at the hospital and the humiliating procedure of having his head shaved, to the days following his bone-marrow transplant. The result of the operation remains uncertain; but in the final sequence, we see a human being who wishes only to die. By then, we’ve experienced his love of life, captured in moments that only children can bring into being: we see him playing games in which he loses himself completely, sharing his thoughts and feelings about his sickness, the future, his friends and his parents; and we hear his mother’s aching description of the changes in her child since the illness took hold. This is a stylistically simple yet deeply moving piece of cinema. In its strongest moments, it transforms into pure poetry the quotidian reality of the clinic and its daily transactions with deadly disease. Though the film never once denies the proximity of death, its final effect is extraordinarily consoling.

(Catalogue DOK Leipzig)

This film is not currently online :(

But no worries. There are more just like it in our new program.


  • Original Title
    Pries parskrendant i zeme
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Arunas Matelis
  • Cinematography
    Audrius Kemezys
  • Editing
    Katharina Schmidt
  • Music
    Kipras Masanauskas
  • Sound
    Jonas Maksvytis
  • Runtime
    51 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Germany
    • Lithuania
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Production
  • Festivals
    • DOK Leipzig is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

Doc Alliance Members

Sign up to receive regular updates on our film program:

By signing up for the newsletter, I hereby consent to receiving commercial communications by electronic means and to all relevant personal data processing required for the purpose of sending the Doc-Air Distribution s.r.o. newsletter. I hereby confirm that I have read and familiarized myself with the Principles of Personal Data Processing and that I consent to the text therein. I also hereby acknowledge the rights specified herein, including, without limitation, the right to submit objections against direct marketing techniques.

Poslat svému Junioru