In her latest documentary, Beata Bubenec uses a single 80-minute take to document daily life on a volunteer military battalion base in the contested Donbass region of the Ukraine during the 2014 conflict.
With a camcorder in hand, Bubenec navigates through the base and is recognized as the participatory narrator whose story and relationships with her subjects are revealed and even questioned over the course of the film’s duration.
The premise of the film itself is so bold and contentious that the it’s premiere at the Moscow ArtDocFest was disrupted by Pro-Kremlin protesters.
When innovation and experimentation are used effectively in documentary film, it’s almost impossible to not have an engaged audience. Flight of a Bullet was like nothing I had ever seen before. Its authenticity was unsettling.
Bubenec successfully mastered the single take film in this film mostly because of the militarily active environment she was placed in.
One particularly gripping moment in the film occurs when members of the battalion arrest and question a Ukrainian man accused of being a separatist.
We see this interaction from start to finish and are rendered completely helpless by the actions we see in front of us. There are no establishing shots, no ‘pretty’ cuts to comfort us when the action gets violent and no musical score to settle a scene that is wavering.
The entire 80 minutes of content represents documentary film in its most indigenous form and untouched form.
This is the kind of film narrative director’s who want to make film about young men in the military should watch.