The introduction of a ”Next Masters Competition” at DOKLeipzig is an excellent idea. I have seen some of the choices for this year and so far one stands out, the Ukrainian ”Delta” by Oleksandr Techynski. It lives up to the reasons I give when asked why I often praise Eastern European documentaries:
It is multilayered, it has a clear aesthetic choice with a skilled camerawork that suits the theme or rather the location, it’s a Film: the delta of the Danube, a kind of Klondyke, where people live under harsh chaotic conditions and where men with worn faces struggle their way through the reed that they harvest to sheaf, to bring in to be sold. They work in all kind of weather – ice cold winters, and under milky foggy skies. Most often on a boat as you can see on the photo, where a man lies dead drunk next to wood that has been cut down to stump. But it is also a place where the transport of a dead body demands quite an effort. There are some moments, where the film takes the viewer inside a house, where a grown-up son has his hair cut by his mother and there are many scenes with vodka being drunk. Lots of focus on faces.
Stylistically there is a move on the film, a flow that is carried by painting-like images superbly composed, no music (thank you for that!). No message, it seems to me that the director wants to say: this is what I saw, he keeps a distance, he interprets with his images, he is not from there, he observes.