Once the visuals have lured you in, you’re tricked into learning things. I hate it when that happens. In addition to the voiceover, the movie occasionally throws up some flashy graphics, which do a great job of communicating certain bits of information that would otherwise be difficult to grasp, such as geography. Elsewhere, medieval puppet shows are used to accentuate particular elements of the pagan lifestyle, such as their beliefs. These puppet shows are appropriately peculiar and imaginative, keeping in the spirit of their content. I’m mostly thinking of the one that describes how pagans worshipped forest spirits, which includes a man with tree branches for a head, a faceless woman who walks on stilts, and a crippled, blue hunchback that fires arrows. They took their beliefs seriously, as an archeological dig discovered more than two-hundred horses buried around a stone idol. This is one of the ways in which Christianity modernized the world, by having the “ultimate sacrifice” already taken place, which removed any need for human or animal sacrifice.
“…the kind of educational video that…the 15-year-old version of you might actually opt to stay awake.”
Baltic Tribes is kind to its subject, portraying them as a strong, iconoclastic people whose tight grip on their culture could not be so easily loosened. As the movie frequently points out, the pagan history is largely told by their Christian dominators, so—as with all of history—it’s hard to separate the truth from the truth told by the ones left to tell it. Add the asterisk and call it a day, I guess.
"…an archeological dig discovered more than two-hundred horses buried around a stone idol."