In 2022, Mantas Kvedaravičius returned to the ruined city of Mariupol in Ukraine to film the people he met for his 2016 documentary Mariupolis. There, he was killed in early April by Russian troops while documenting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His fiancée managed to escape with the footage. After his death, producers and crew gave their all to edit his final, unfinished film and show it to the world.
The Lithuanian filmmaker and anthropologist sought to film with careful attention, far removed from the commotion of media and politics. Mariupolis 2 shows a hell on earth, but also how life goes on in the midst of the bombardments. Residents smoke and chat outside while bombs fall incessantly. They dig a makeshift grave alongside the trash and rubble, and cook outside on the firewood they’ve gathered. They help each other, even if it puts their lives at risk. There is no past or future—there is only life, there, in the moment.