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The Lukiškės prison, a historical building with a complicated history, today is one of the most visited points of interest in Vilnius. It serves as a multifunctional venue, where film screenings, concerts and guided tours take place. No wonder it attracts Vilnius’ culture vultures as well as local and foreign filmmakers. The prison appeared in various films and popular TV series that captivated audiences around the world.

More than a century old, the Lukiškės prison was once among the most modern buildings of this type in the entire Russian Empire. The prison, which operated during the World Wars, the Soviet era, and Lithuania’s independence, has preserved its original interior and exterior elements until the present day. Perhaps that is why today the Lukiškės prison appeals to filmmakers so much: the cells, porches and offices of the former prison are considered extremely cinematic.

Location manager EJ Richards, who worked on such projects as “Infinity”, “Wonder Woman 1984”, and “Bridgerton Chronicles”, could not hide her surprise when she came to see the Lukiškės prison. “Visiting this place felt strange and slightly uncomfortable because the prison still feels very much alive. I think many cinematic ideas could be carried out here,” said EJ Richards.

Lori Balton, a location scout who worked with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky, and Steven Spielberg, also found the authentic building truly memorable. Lori visited the prison during the Baltic Fam Tour. “I was surprised to see how great were the photos taken in the Lukiškės prison. The location is very versatile: so many different details, angles, unexpected solutions!” she said later.

Probably by now, everyone knows that the hugely popular TV series “Strange Things” was shot in Lukiškės prison, but not everyone knows that filming crews from Lithuania, Sweden, and France also worked in the facility.

A number of scenes for the Netflix show “Clark”, which tells the story of one of the most controversial personalities in the history of modern Sweden, the criminal Clark Olofsson, who became a celebrity, were shot in Lukiškės prison. In fact, in the series, the authentic facilities of the prison “played” as many as 5 different prisons! Indeed, the prison can turn into so many various places on the screen… During the shooting of the first season of the Swedish detective “Young Wallander“, a large fictionary nightclub was located here. Lukiškės prison also appeared in the films “Kompromat” and “I’m Fine”.

 

Photos: Saulius Žiūra, Audrius Solominas, Go Vilnius.

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