Explosions, car chases, shootings, twisted criminal investigation cases – all of this with Vilnius as a backdrop. Such scenarios play out in the Lithuanian capital thanks to local and foreign filmmakers. For detective and action film fans, the Vilnius Film Office recommends the following 5 films with a tense plot that were shot here in Vilnius. All the films and series listed below are available to Lithuanian audiences – you can watch them on Netflix as well as on the national cinema platforms.
“The Generation of Evil”
Set in a quiet provincial town, the film by director Emilis Vėlyvis is classified as a work of the Scandinavian noir genre. Internal family drama, a story reminiscent of the injustices of the Soviet era, and friends turning into enemies are the main plotlines of this dramatic film. “The Generation of Evil” surprises not only with a plot that constantly keeps the audience on edge but also with complex technical solutions. The film features artificial rain, various stunts, and expertly staged violent scenes.
In 2023 “The Wicked Generation” was nominated for the “Silver Crane” cinema awards in four categories and was chosen as the audience favorite of the year.
Those who are into detective stories are likely to find the Netflix series “Young Wallander”, inspired by the hugely popular Henning Mankell novels, well worth watching. The protagonist of the show is the cult character detective Kurt Wallander, a recently graduated police officer with his first case to crack. This extremely complicated case gets Mr. Wallander entangled in a hate crime in his own neighborhood and provokes a wave of discontent in the community.
Although the action of the story takes place in modern Sweden, the series was shot exclusively in Lithuania. The crew shot the first season in Šeškinė neighborhood, and in the later episodes, spectators will recognize Vilnius Street, the premises of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, Lukiškės Prison, Sapiegos Park, the Loftas Art Factory, LNK News Studio, the Sereikiškės Park tennis court, the Lithuanian Football Federation Stadium, as well as numerous other Vilnius locations.
At the center of the French production “Kompromat” is the diplomat Matthew, appointed to lead the French alliance in Siberia. His life falls apart overnight: locked up in prison in Russia, he realizes that he has fallen victim to a fictitious crime. Separated from his family and isolated in a foreign land, Matthew has only one way to survive – he must escape. In the eyes of the FSB service and local oligarchs, the diplomat’s fierce struggle for life begins.
Gariūnai car market, Lukiškių prison, and Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall are just a few of the many places that Lithuanian viewers will recognize immediately. The film also stars Lithuanian actors Marius Repšys, Vaidotas Martinaitis, Algirdas Latėnas and Larisa Kalpokaitė.
“Max Anger: With One Eye Open”
The makers of the Swedish series “Max Anger” have also worked in Vilnius. The result is a tense action film centered on the former special operations soldier Max Anger, who seeks to find his former colleague and beloved Pashi. In the series, Vilnius played Saint Petersburg and Stockholm of 1943 and 1996. According to the show’s team, the old town, together with more modern parts of the city and typically Soviet residential areas, were perfect for implementing all the conceived ideas.
The TV series “Hamilton”, based on one of the most successful works of Scandinavian literature, was also shot in Vilnius. It tells the story of a Swedish secret service agent trying to unravel a sprawling terrorist network operating across Europe. During the mission, he has to face not only influential organizations and criminals but also come to terms with his past that keeps haunting him. The crew shot scenes of the show at various locations in Vilnius which, depending on the episode, represents the center of Stockholm, the streets of Hamburg, the squares of Paris, and the forests and lakes of Russia. The shooting was quite intense: an explosion was simulated and, on more than one occasion, prop weapons were used.
Photo credits: Audrius Solominas