The manors in Lithuania turned into filming locations

2020 01 27

A number of manors in Lithuania have served as filming locations. It is not surprising, as here we find the authentic atmosphere of the past times, impressive buildings, and charming interiors. Many films and TV series telling dramatic stories have been filmed at the manors. And some shocking events happened during the filming. We invite you to take a look at the manors where the lively drama of the film heroes took place, and historical eras and locations were recreated. 

Lithuanian television series “The Price of Freedom. Volunteers” (Lith. “Laisvės kaina. Savanoriai”) (2016, Lithuania, directed by S. Balandis) tells the story about how the Lithuanian Independence Act of 16 February 1918 was signed and other important events in the country. Zypliai Manor in Šakiai district was chosen for filming the scenes. This was where the filmmakers found the interior and exterior as well as the luxury of the period. The filming of the film “Patriots” (Lith. “Patriotai”) (2016) took place at Zypliai Manor, where the film’s creative group stayed for a while, and the residents of Šakiai had a chance to experience what it is like to be an actor. 

The famous television film “Tadas Blinda” (1972), also holding the title of the first Lithuanian adventure film, was filmed at Alanta Manor and its surroundings in Molėtai district. Verpetas hill located nearby is the one the film’s protagonist climbed up on his horse, the manor’s balcony is the same where Tadas Blinda climbed up to Ms. Kristina, the authentic wooden stairs are also the same. During the making of the film, one could hear the hooves of passing horses throughout Alanta like in the ancient times.

Almost forty years later, the story of this hero was reborn. In 2011, the film “Tadas Blinda. The Beginning” (Lith. “Tadas Blinda. Pradžia”) was filmed at a well looked after and very authentic Renavas Manor in Mažeikiai district. It was based on R. Šavelis’ novel “Tadas Blinda” and the aforementioned television mini-series “Tadas Blinda”.

A feature film “Lunar Lithuania” (Lith. “Mėnulio Lietuva”) (1997) was filmed at Burbiškis and Akmena Manors in Anykščiai district. The film directed by Gytis Lukšas tells a tragicomic love story based on “Duokiškis”, a piece written by S. Šaltenis (Lith. “Duokiškis”). The surroundings of the Burbiškis Manor and the huge wide chimney of the Akmena Manor, rising from the basement to the sky through all floors of the building, served well the filmmakers. 

In 2014, a film “Children of the Wolf” (Lith. “Vilko vaikai”) (2013, Germany) was shot at Liubavas Manor near Vilnius. It is a story of young German children, known as “Wolfskinder”, who ended up in our country after World War II and were raised in Lithuanian families. In May 2015, the film “War and Peace” based on a novel by the Russian writer Lev Tolstoy of the same name (2016, UK) was filmed at the old Liubavas Manor.

The story of filming a French television mini-series “Collette” (Lith. “Koletė”) (2003, France, directed by Nadine Trintignant, with Marie Trintignant in the leading role) about the French novelist Colette (1873–1954) is especially sad. The actress was fatally beaten during a conflict with her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, who came to Lithuania with her. The action of the last film directed by Marie Trintignant takes place in France of the 20th century. The location and the period were also restored in the surroundings of the following Lithuanian manors: Liubavas Manor, the Winter Garden of Kretinga Manor, Renavas Manor, Markučiai Manor in Vilnius.

Films such as “Anna Karenina” (Lith. “Ana Karenina”) (2013) and “Hero” (Rus.“Герой”, Lith. “Herojus”) (2014) were also filmed at Markučiai Manor, where the Pushkin Literary Museum is located.

Užutrakis Manor in Trakai District also served as a location of the scenes of the last two films. The elegant residence of the Counts Tyszkiewicz and its surroundings has been repeatedly chosen by filmmakers. In the 1970s, the famous film “Walnut Bread” (Lith. “Riešutų duona”) by A. Žebriūnas (1977, Lithuania) was filmed here.

Trakai Vokė Manor in Vilnius is a manor house that especially attracts the filmmakers. The impressive spaces of the residence of the Counts Tyszkiewicz have been captured in several films. The feature films shot at Trakai Vokė Manor house include “Anna Karenina” (Lith. “Ana Karenina”) (2013), “War and Peace” (Lith. “Karas ir Taika”) (2007, 2016), as well as some scenes from many other films: “Hero” (Rus.“Герой”, Lith. “Herojus”) (2014), “Letters to Sofija” (Lith. “Laiškai Sofijai”) (2012), “Blood in the Snow” (Lith. “Kraujas sniege”) (2011), “Circles in the Water” (Ita. “I cerchinell'acqua”, Lith. “Ratilai vandenyje) (2010), “True Horror” (Lith. “Tikrasis siaubas”) (2009), “Tchaikovsky. The Works of a Genius” (Lith. “Čaikovskis. Genijauskūryba”) (2006), “Uncle Adolf” (Lith. “Dėdė Adolfas”) (2005), “Silence Becomes You” (Lith. “Tyla tampa tavimi”) (2005)... The creators of these and other television films, dramas and mini-series have transferred the interiors and surroundings of Trakai Vokė Manor to the screens. In 2018, the Americans turned the Trakai Vokė Manor into a czar’s home for the documentary TV series “The Last Czars” about Nikolay Romanov, the last czar of the Russian Empire and his family.

The action of the première of 2019 “Catherine the Great” (Lith. “Jekaterina Didžioji”) (USA, UK, directed by Philip Martin) also takes place in the ornate neoclassical Trakai Vokė Manor. All the scenes of the film taking place in the private palace of the Empress (played by the British actress Helen Mirren) have been shot here.

Lithuanian manors are not only inviting cinema lovers, but also all those interested in history and heritage, to see the unique filming locations, and to virtually travel other countries and historical periods.
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