Trailer Watch: Jerzy Skolimowski’s Eo
Watch the trailer for 84-year-old Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski’s Eo, the director’s first film in seven years. The titular donkey is originally part of a traveling circus troupe (under the loving care of a young woman named Kasandra) before he’s shuttled off to a string of different owners. These subsequent caretakers oscillate between cruelty and tenderness, randomly determining the sweet donkey’s quality of life. Greatly influenced by Robert Bresson’s 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar, Eo premiered at Cannes earlier this year, where it tied for the Jury Prize with Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch’s The Eight Mountains.
In his dispatch out of Cannes, Vadim Rizov wrote:
A profoundly spiritual portrait of the titular donkey, Balthazar is also the text its maker most explicitly links to his early life as an action painter (“Then onto my canvas burst a multitude of structures, each with its own dialectic,” says a man with an easel strapped to his back). With Eo, Skolimowski aims for an even more volatile and irruptive classification. The film begins in a circus—filtered, as so many of the film’s subsequent images are, in a pyretic red—where Eo (performed by a sextet of asses: Hola, Tako, Marietta, Ettore, Rocco and Mela) is featured in what appears to be a vaudeville performance with a young woman named Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska). Deeply saturated and shot in superimposed close-ups and overhead shots, the intro is unexpectedly overwhelming—not for the empathy it generates toward these images of an animal devoid of agency, but simply as cinema—and from there the movie rarely lets up.
The film will play at the New York Film Festival next week, with public screenings on October 11 and 13. Sideshow and Janus Films will distribute Eo stateside, with its theatrically release slated for November 18.