The first part of the monumental, total work by Ilya Khrzhanovsky is an introduction to the DAU world constructed with incredible scale while also being precise in the tiniest of details. The shocking and entrancing film traps characters and audiences in its protracted shots to tell the story of a lonely canteen manager in a city-sized institution sealed off to the outside world. The plot runs its course over several days in 1952 during which Khrzhanovsky makes us witness the dramatic entanglements of the titular heroine. The camera (shot on 35mm film!) is akin to a spy, never taking its eyes off Natasha, as she slings food, flirts, holds drunken conversations, is stabbed by a young assistant, or has sex. She is totally unaware that her banal dreams of love and her minor transgressions in the canteen are being consumed by absolute totalitarian power. DAU reveals that power’s mechanisms.
Berlin IFF 2020 – Silver Berlin Bear – Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Jürgen Jürges)
DAU. Natasha / DAU. Natasza
Directed by: Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Jekaterina Oertel
Screenplay: Ilya Khrzhanovskiy
Photos: Jürgen Jürges
Cast: Natalia Berezhnaya, Olga Shkabarnya, Vladimir Azhippo, Alexei Blinov
Production: Phenomen Ukraine, Phenomen Films, Phenomen Berlin, Filmproduktions
Country: Germany, Ukraine, UK, Russia
Running time: 138 min.