New from Kevin Wozniak on Kevflix: Chicago International Film Festival Movie Review: EO

 

EO is a modern version of Robert Bresson’s 1966 Au hasard Balthazar, which finds us on a journey with a donkey, named EO, as it explores modern Europe and the people who live in it. It is a gorgeous and moving film that is almost a truly great film.

We open the film finding EO at a circus, working in his act in front of a relatively big crowd. He is loved by the human he works with, Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska), but is abruptly taken away from her and the circus when there is a new law against animal cruelty goes into effect. This sends EO on an Odyssey-like journey through Europe, from the mountains to the woods, from the farms to the big cities, where he meets several different people, some of them good, some of them bad.

EO (Skopia Film)
EO (Skopia Film)

EO is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in 2022. Director Jerzy Skolimowski has crafted a truly emotionally stirring experience. EO is an exploration of humanity and the beauty and ugliness of us through the eyes of the donkey. While on EO’s journey, he encounters several different people, all of whom treat him differently. There are those who love him, like Kasandra, and those who want to help him, let a veterinarian who helps EO get back to health after he is savagely beaten. But then there are those who only see him as a work donkey or those who are just horribly evil, like a deranged group of soccer fans of blame EO for them losing a game. The film is at times a heartwarming and sweet movie while also being terrifying and sad. It is a full emotional experience watching EO, but at the end of it, you fall in love with EO and want him to find someplace that will take care of him and love him.

EO is also a masterfully crafted film. The cinematography is some of the most impressive of the year. Some of the shots in the film took my breath away (I mean, just look at the title image!) and I was amazed at the camera work around the animals. We also get an impressive score that does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of emotion in the film. While Skolimowski uses skilled editing and impressive camerawork to try and convey any emotion EO might be feeling, he really leans on his score to let us know how EO is feeling. When he is a trailer leaving Kasandra from the circus, the score is very sad and sweeping. When things are happier for EO, the score is lighter. While the score of the film is excellent, I wish it didn’t do as much lifting for lifting and allowed the audience to attribute the donkey’s emotions themselves.

Though tough to watch at times, EO is a beautiful move in every way, and I loved going on this journey with our lovable donkey.

 

 

 

EO played in the Spotlight section of the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival.

 

 

 

 

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