Documentary

Jurate sat on the sand and cried

© John Sigma

Jurate sat on the sand and cried

Picture of a shore of the Baltic Sea

According to an ancient Lithuanian legend, Jurate, the beautiful goddess of the sea, who lived in a palace of amber at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, fell in love with a humble fisherman named Kastytis. When the great god of thunder, Perkunas, found out about it, he became very angry at Jurate for her love for a mortal and in a jealous rage killed Kastytis with lightning bolts and shattered Jurate’s undersea palace.

Approaching the shore of Palenga

Even today, when winds whip up raging storms in the Baltic Sea, one can hear Jurate’s mournful cries for her beloved Kastytis. The crying of the goddess upsets the sea which washes the amber fragments of her destroyed palace on the sandy shores. That is why the best time for gathering amber is after a storm.

Scientifically speaking, amber is the fossilized resin of pine trees that died more than twenty million years ago. But, for the people of Lithuania, amber is far more than fossil resin. It is the symbol of the whole nation, that immerses in its history and mythology. Amber is used in the Lithuanian language for various reasons. It can be found in people’s names, hotels, museums, etc.

Industrial buildings in Klaipeda

Many young Lithuanians spending much of their daily time to collect amber from the shores of the Baltic Sea, so they can sell it to the black market. In daily basis, they pass over the Curonian lagoon to reach the vast shores of the Curonian Spit, a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit named Neringa, that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. In this place, it is settled a small fishing village, Juodkrante, in which the first documented history of found natural amber began back in 1854.

Crossing the Curonian lagoon

Bar in Vilnius

Cargo ship departing from Klaipeda port

At the Vilnius Opera

Amber collectors waiting for the storm to come

Ancient forest of pines at Neringa

Teenagers playing billiards

Near port of Klaipeda

A woman staring at the sea

John Sigma
the authorJohn Sigma
I believe in the power of the image - it fascinates me. My father was a DP in film productions. Thus, due to stimuli in childhood, growing in an environment full of perceptions from Cinema, I've learned to respect the seductive power of the story which resides inside the image. After finishing my studies in Photography, I studied Film Directing, passing from Stills to Motion pictures. All my stories and characters are real, but at the same time, they might be fiction or dreams. I aim at informing the audience about the characters and their world and to initiate the viewer towards different interpretations of the structure and the outcome.
Education
- Film Directing/Film Studies, New York College / Dept. of Film Studies, Athens, Greece.
- European Studies, Hellenic Open University / School of Humanities, Department of European Studies, Greece.
- Photography, Michigan State University / Dept. of Art, Art History & Design, (Distance Learning Academic Programs).

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