by Indra Ekmanis
Can the dream of a basketball team represent the dream of a country? Director Marius Markevicius, argues “yes” in The Other Dream Team, a colorful film that merges the fight for an Olympic title with the struggle for an independent Lithuania. The film follows the careers of five Lithuanian basketball players, four of whom (Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Arvydas Sabonis, Valdemaras Chomičius, and Rimas Kurtinaitis) played in medal-winning Olympic games. They wore trademark red Soviet jerseys in 1984, but their claim to fame came in 1992 while sporting the tie-dyed colors of a renewed Lithuania and Grateful Dead sponsorship. In the socio-political upheaval during the collapse of the USSR, Lithuanian basketball players were symbolic of a nation — not a Union — regardless of the colors they wore.
Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, the film will appeal to basketball fans and REECAS aficionados alike. It pulls at the heartstrings of its viewers, but offers a valuable window into Lithuanian emotions and politics during the final years of the Soviet Union and as the country regained the right to wave its own flag.
The Lithuanian documentary film, “The Other Dream Team” will be shown this Thursday, October 31st at 5:30 p.m. in the Allen Auditorium in the Allen Library, as part of the Scandinavian and Baltic Film Nights. This is a free event. More information available here.