EO is a dark exploration of humanity, technology and nature

Mateusz Kościukiewicz and the titular donkey in “EO”. Sideshow and Janus Movies

Donkeys are hard on the outside — at least on film.

Europe ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/4 stars)
directed by: Jerzy Skolimowski
author: Jerzy Skolimowski, Eva Piaskowska
Starring: Sandra Drzymalska, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Isabelle Huppert
operation hours: 139 minutes

It’s certainly not a piece of cake for the reigning jerk of the film industry Au Hasard Balthazar, Robert Bresson’s chilling look at human cruelty even came in at No. 16 sight and soundof 100 greatest movies of all timeperhaps still the most underrated masterpiece of cinema.

Europe is the successful attempt by 84-year-old Polish filmmaker and actor Jerzy Skolimowski to renew and add color to the cinematic dialogue about despair, purpose and roar that Bresson began more than half a century ago.

There are many harmonious fusions between the two films. Both donkeys are related to the circus – where EO started, and that stop was halfway through Balthazar’s woes – and both start their journeys in life, deeply in love with a young girl.

It’s Sandra Drzymalska from the Polish Netflix comedy sexualized) When EO becomes the focus of her performance, he gives EO his name, her heart, and a sense of purpose as the animal appears to rise from the dead under flashy red flashing lights. (You can see where Skolimowski went, shortly after being auctioned off by a bankrupt circus, EO was not christened as Balthazar once was, but an industrial agricultural building.)

There are other notable differences between this film and Bresson’s films. Although Balthazar never strayed far from the Pyrenees village of his birth, EO is set on a trans-European adventure, making Skolimowski’s film a subtle commentary on the dark side of the open-border economy. We also see more of what he sees—horses galloping across fields, snow blanketing the Carpathians—and he acts out more, seemingly crying when separated from Cassandra. No filmmaker has come close to matching the austere, intense minimalism that made Bresson the most profound director of all time.

Still, Skolimowski was able to bring his own style and a keen sense of purpose to his ass stories.

Where Balthazar As an existential reflection on sacrifice and an allegory of Christ, Skolimowski’s film locks squarely at the deep, sometimes terrifying imbalance between nature, humanity, and technology.In this way, his films are cut from a similar fabric to Godfrey Reggio’s cult experiment documentaries Koyaanisqatsi, At moments when the narrative is shelved in favor of thematic exploration.

When his hiss disrupted a local football match, resulting in a missed penalty, EO was targeted by violent hooligans and appeared to recover from a near-fatal beating (Skolimowski, an animal lover, tried his best to Wholeheartedly assure us that no animals were injured in this production) quadruped robot. When he escaped into a forest full of wildlife earlier, he was greeted by green lasers that may have come from alien UFOs.

As a very weird art film by a famous European director, Isabelle Huppert certainly had to be present. The on-screen guru plays a dish-breaking countess who’s tired of the slutty ways of her stepson (Mateusz Kościukiewicz), who absconds with him after he stumbles upon him at a crime scene and takes him home. The lawn of his soon-to-be-sold family cottage.

A dark-hued orchestral score by award-winning Polish clarinetist and composer Paweł Mykietyn – voted one of the best musical compositions written for a film this year – sets the stage for both the film’s whimsy and its Adds a raw sense of urgency to EO’s films. dilemma.

While the film is as dark and sad as Bresson’s classics, it’s also filled with the joy that Skolimowski clearly had in making it.You can feel it in the mischief and desire for freedom he instills in EO; you can even see it in the way the director names every donkey who plays EO in his films Acceptance speech At Cannes, the film won the Jury Prize.

Like most good art, Europe It feels better than explaining or fully understanding. The world is not easy, the big donkeys in the movies seem to tell us; but when we are able to see it through their wide-eyed eyes – seeing things that no great director’s work would never see – we may learn to some important things about how to do it better.

Observer reviews are regular reviews of new and noteworthy films.

'EO' is a dark but joyous exploration of humanity, technology and nature

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