Based on a true story.

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Lillian, an emigrant stranded in New York City, decides to walk back to her native Russia. She resolutely starts out on the long journey. A road movie straight across the USA into the freezing temperatures of Alaska. The chronicle of a slow disappearance.


Cast                 Patrycja Płanik (Lillian)

Crew               Director, Screenplay, Camera & Music Andreas Horvath

                         Editors Michael Palm, Andreas Horvath

                         Sound Klaus Kellermann

                         Sound Design, Mixing Ulrich Grimm

                         Production Manager Louis Oellerer

                         Producer Ulrich Seidl

                         Production Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion © Vienna 2019


Original Title    Lillian

Language          English

Subtitles avail  English, French, Spanish, Portuguese,

                             Polish, Russian, Slovak

Genre                 Drama, road movie, true story

Tags                    FEMALE LIFE - ON THE ROAD - DEBUT

                             FEATURE - OUTSIDERS - BASED ON A

                             TRUE STORY - OBSESSION - USA -   


Length               128 mins

Format               DCP | Colour | 5.1

Year                    2019


Cannes Film Festival 2019 (Directors' Fortnight)/ Artfilmfest (Best Female Performance, Slovakia), Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic), Pyeongchang International Peace Film Festival (South Korea),  Orenburg East and West Film Festival (Best Director & Prize from Yar, Russia), Montélimar International Film Festival (Best Director from Young Jury, France)/ Cinematik Film Festival (Slovakia),  Oldenburg International Film Festival (Outstanding Performance by an Actress, Germany)/ L'Etrange Festival (France)/ Festival "De l'écrit à l'écran" (France)/ Message To Man International Film Festival (Russia), Zebra Poetry Film Festival Münster (Germany), Zurich Film Festival (Special Mention, Switzerland), Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Panorama International, Canada), Sao Paulo International Film Festival (International Perspective, Brazil), Haifa International Film Festival (Competition for Debut, Israel)/ Festival du Cinéma International en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Canada), Festival Al Este (Argentina), LISTAPAD - Minsk International Film Festival (Victor Turov Memorial Award for Best Film, FIPRESCI Award for Best Debut, Bielorussia), Festival Indépendance(s) & Création-Auch (France)/ American Film Festival, Wroclaw (On The Edge, Poland)/ Festival du Film Politique (Competition, France)/ International Film Festival “Liffe” (Slovenia)/ Cinedays (Official Selection, Macedonia)/ Ex-Ground Filmfest (Germany), Arras Film Festival (World Cinema, France)/ Goa International Film Festival (International Competition, India)/ Cinergia (Poland)/ Thessaloniki International Film Festival (International Competition, Greece)/ Gijon Film Festival (Youth Jury Award for Best Feature Film, Spain)/ Porto/Post/Doc (International Competition, Portugal)/ Tulum International Film Festival (Pulse, Mexico)/ International Film Festival of Kerala (World Cinema, India)/ Tromsø International Film Festival (FIPRESCI Award, Norway)/ Trieste Film Festival (Cineuropa Prize, Italy)/ Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis (Germany)/ Göteborg Film Festival (Sweden)/ Slamdance Film Festival (Special Screening, US Premiere)


The starting point for our film and our journey was the story of a Russian woman living in New York City, who one day set out to walk back to her homeland. It was only by accident that she was discovered by workmen in the Canadian boreal forest. Despite their warnings, she pursued her march alone toward the Bering Strait. Her name was Lillian Alling, the year was 1927. To this day she is still considered missing. Her determination fascinated me and the idea for LILLIAN has followed me for 15 years.

The deafening metropolis of New York, a rustling cornfield somewhere in the Midwest and a lonely beach on the Bering Strait ... If you connect these three places with a line, you obtain Lillian’s approximate route. On top of that, envision the abstract idea of this route projected on the globe. I tried to keep this “satellite perspective” in mind, even while shooting the film.

If you imagine the situations you might get into while walking across North America, stories of course spring to mind. But the film is essentially the product of improvisation and chance. There was no script. From the outset it was planned that accidental encounters would be incorporated into the film’s storyline and would determine its narrative.


coming soon



He was born in Salzburg in 1968. An award-winning filmmaker and photographer, his films have screened at the Venice, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Rotterdam, London, Chicago and San Francisco film festivals, among others.

Lillian is his first feature film.


The Silence of Green (2002), This ain‘t no Heartland (2004), Views of a Retired Night Porter (2006), Arab Attraction (2010), Earth‘s Golden Playground (2013), Helmut Berger, Actor (2015)


"a fascinating Midwestern backdrop (...) An existential thriller" Artfilmfest

"This remarkable observational piece, which lulls the audience like a slowly advancing horizon, dispenses with the usual dramatic approaches in order to sketch a pilgrimage across the vast landscape. And the mere absence of society’s watchful eye can lead to happiness." Karlovy Vary IFF

"The film depicts the dark side of the American Dream in the vast landscape in contrast to her adversity." Pyeongchang International Peace Film Festival

"carried by the great talent of photographer and artist Patrycja Planik. An elegiac and grandiose quest, reminiscent of the great New Hollywood movies, beautifully directed by Horvath and produced by the great Ulrich Seidl" L'Etrange Festival

"Andreas Horvath’s powerful road movie LILLIAN is loosely based on the true, fabled journey of an outsider and marks the fascinating chronicle of a slow disappearance." Zurich Film Festival

"Radical loneliness, deep and powerful images and a sensitive societal analysis – 'Lillian' masterfully unites all these aspects." Oldenburg International Film Festival

"Austrian filmmaker Andreas Horvath delivers a fascinating road movie that draws on a crazy-but-true story to tell the tale of a young Russian émigré to the U.S. who’s determined to walk back to Russia." Festival Du Nouveau Cinéma

"Lillian, una migrante varada en Nueva York tras el vencimiento de su visa, decide volver caminando a su natal Rusia. Al fiel estilo de una road movie, nuestra protagonista atraviesa los Estados Unidos hasta los helados parajes de Alaska, en una crónica que narra su lenta desaparición camino a casa." Al Este Argentina

"Just like Lillian herself who is enigmatic, hypnotizing, and difficult to label. The director skillfully builds underlying tension, manipulates expectations of the audiences, accustomed to the usual road movies. The burden of this journey, reminiscent e.g. of Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms, rests on the shoulders of convincing debutante, a Polish artists and photographer Patrycja Planik." American Film Fest Wroclaw

"One of the hidden jewels of the Cannes Festival 2019" Gijon Film Festival

"Horvath’s visually stunning road movie is based on a true story." Ex-Ground Filmfest

"Through changing landscapes and contrasting climates, we witness an unusual and unforgettable journey that crosses an entire country. Almost transparent, the protagonist (beautifully interpreted by Patrycja Płanik) shows us what it is to be a woman in a world full of danger. This fiction based on real events finds its most meaningful moments in the protagonist´s silences and, conversely, in the sounds of the spaces and figures around her. The film –from its title-  is a manifesto and a call to arms that asks us to remember those who have disappeared and those who seek to survive." Tulum International Film Festival

"Polish visual artist Patrycja Planik in the role of Lillian, gives life to a determined but vulnerable character without uttering a single word. While observing these vast landscapes and people, celebrated documentarian Andreas Horvarth depicts the underbelly of present-day US with authenticity." Tromsø International Film Festival

"Polish actress Patrycya Planik is magnificent in the lead role, all without uttering a single line. The soundtrack predominantly consists of the radios playing in the cars she hitches a ride with. A visually powerful roadmovie, produced by Ulrich Seidl, about a person whose fate has captured the imagination of generations." Göteborg Film Festival




"A fascinating walk through a mysterious land." The Hollywood Reporter (Full Review)


"The Cannes Directors’ Fortnight has unearthed an absolute gem this year. Andreas Horvath’s Lillian [+] is a road movie across America, which serves up a history lesson on Native Americans, a state-of-the-nation assessment on rural living and an otherworldly thriller with an environmental undertone." Cineuropa (Full Review)


"It is the kind of film that slips under the skin.(...) The film is impressively shot by Horvath himself and has moments of imposing beauty."

Screen International (Full Review)



Wed 22 at 8:30pm (Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis)

Wed 22 at 10pm (Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis)

Friday 24 at 9:15pm (Göteborg Film Festival)

Saturday 25 at 10am (Göteborg Film Festival)

Monday 27 at 9pm (Slamdance Film Festival)

Thursday 30 at 5pm (Slamdance Film Festival)


Saturday 1 at 10am (Göteborg Film Festival)

Sunday 2 at 5pm (Göteborg Film Festival)


... way too soon, come back later!