To celebrate (or perhaps invoke) its fertility, we will kick off 2008 in a “down to earth” way, our first event of the year will be the screening of Audrius Mickevicius’ documentary about farmer Jonas and his horse. Jonas is one of the few remaining examples of the nearly extinct “Man-Horse” generation – a generation based on the existential relationship, a symbiosis of sorts, between the human and the animal.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lives of elderly Lithuanian farmers haven’t changed much. Forgotten and often defrauded by the state, they continue to live their traditional lives, without the power or the desire to change. When they live alone on the farms, their animals have become not only their food and tools, but also their friends. Jonas had a horse all his life. He worked hard, as did the horse, but he remains poor. He is as gentle as a horse, accepting everything that life has to offer - the injustice of the state, the selfishness of other farmers, his poverty-stricken life… Jonas and his horse live and work together to feed each other. Most of the time, he works harder than his animal, as Lithuanian peasants say - “he is the horse” - Jonas, the man - horse.