MS Valentina, 2019, documentary (80 minutes)

A film about the day to day life on board the Romanian cargo ship MS Valentina. The River as an „European Road“ is full of opposites and differences: beautiful and destructed nature as well as Europe’s economic and political diremption.
TRAILER: https://vimeo.com/308602097

The cargo ship MS Valentina covers 1640 Danube kilometers on its route from Linz, Austria to Russe, Bulgaria. It crosses through seven countries while doing so. The River as an „European Road“ is full of opposites and differences.

A film about the day to day life on board the cargo ship MS Valentina. A Romanian family living in their home made of steel including a living room, a kitchen, bedrooms and a bathroom. The seaman is housed in a three by three metres coach. The life of the family is firmly connected with the river. The water rules all of their life and work. „Time on the water, is something beautiful“, so says Captain Ticu Bejan. When the Captain enters the operator‘s cab in the early morning, his wife is busy baking bread, and canning vegetables. The seaman keeps renewing the ships coat of paint because water and wind leave behind rust and other marks. But collisions and dangerous waters are part of the daily routine as well.

The whims of the captain determine the life aboard the ship, which travels down the river Danube to the repetitive stroke of the engine at always the same speed.

„My goal was lost. Russe no longer came to mind. No thought about the coming days. Just the next hour was of interest. And even the events of said hour somehow only touched me peripherally. Through the captain and his river“. (Movie quote)

A film about a natural area which always has been overmolded and destructed by humans in a brute way. Huge dams generate electricity, nuclear plants cool their fuel rods, to heavy industries it is but a means of transport, and fisher get their sturgeon. Everybody helps himself to what they need from the river Danube yet this does not take away from it‘s beauty. The river does not know standstill, it takes everything with it and keeps regenerating.

A film that shows Europe’s economic and political diremption: From the prosperous industrial locations of the countries in the West to the abandoned industrial areas of the Balkan, the ruins of progress.

„A tumble, or maybe more like a steady fall towards the east? Everything undergoes permanent change, yet it rarely or actually never becomes better; because "progress" is but a profane shape of falling“. (Movie quote)

Destroyed bridges, bullet holes in apartment buildings, or the perforated water tower in Vukowar. Mute witnesses representing the gap between nations. The destruction and injuries of the Yugoslavian wars are present still. The river Danube also is a border, a wall made of water within a allegedly unified Europe.