"Eo" is an idiosyncratic look, although it's a nominated film at the Academy Awards for the most powerful documentary on Earth in 2022, which follows donkey Eo as he changes owners, each as different, strange, kind, and beautiful as the European landscape itself.
Dymek spent some time on the project. The 1.5 format, according to IndieWire, is a large-format still photography aspect ratio.
Dymek wanted to emphasize the subjectivity of the donkey and the organic environment through which Eo moves, which drew him to a large format camera and vintage lenses that could warp the edges of the picture and give me a sense of how the animal perceives and navigates human spaces. With this setup, I could run and [act] almost as a steady-cam operator.
"Eo" means "eo."
Courtesy Everett Collection
Dymek chose a set of older Canon prime lenses to enhance Eo's in-camera visual effects, because donkeys will go where donkeys want to go. "I needed to look for lenses that would be suitable for the large format sensor," Dymek explained.
Dymek's film's visual language remained strong due to the quality of the lenses, which contributed to a somewhat fuzzy edge and a still-photograph quality. The film's expressive quality is both powerful and enhanced, perfectly conveying an animal's absence from human structures and environments while still needing to move through them.
"Eo" means "eo."
Collection of Courtesy Everett
Dymek and his group found Eo's perspective through the number of ways the camera moves, frames, and reframes environments, and chooses odd angles from which to view fairly mundane situations, like the opening of a barn or a child's ride through the woods. “I was shooting like I was in a trance,” Dymek said.
“I remember when I saw the first draft of the edit, after almost a year of working on it with Jerzy and Ewa and the rest of the crew, it really moved me. I felt like, 'Oh my God, so much time has passed, and here I am looking at the first result, and it looks amazing.' There was a lot of poetry in that, as well as a genuine filmmaking passion in this footage.”