Postcard from Somova, Romania

The era of the postcard has passed. A postcard as literal expression of the beautiful and foreign has become an anachronism affordable for only those who are in no great hurry. In this sense, the first image in Postcard from Somova, Romania corresponds with the shots of the film that follow: set to the sounds of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Partita for Double String Orchestra,” one sees a clock that instead of melting away like Salvador Dalí’s, lies broken in pieces on the ground. Following are images of a place where time does actually seem to have stood still: the Somova harbor on the Romanian Danube Delta. Dogs and cats wander in their search for food on the shores of the river. Goats graze in a field and engage in playful territorial battles. A horse tethered to a wooden wagon eats hay. Although documentary films are often said to engage in “excavation,” Andreas Horvath does exactly the opposite here. One clearly senses the way that the camera buries itself in the small strip of shore amongst water, field, and woods, registering every detail, no matter how small, with the greatest precision, while the wind rustles incessantly in the treetops. The refuse that the river washes ashore here has traveled from afar and is here to stay. Like the broken clock, the heedlessly tossed garbage has long become part of the scenery. Afternoon almost imperceptibly gives way to evening as two fishermen happen to pull in to dock and drive off the horse carriage. By nightfall, all that remains are the goats. Postcard from Somova, Romania tells of what seems to be useless waiting; thus achieving an extremely high quality in the observation of this state. A snapshot with enduring beauty.

(Michael Pekler)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
Postcard from Somova, Romania
Austria, Romania
20 min
Andreas Horvath
Orig. Language
Andreas Horvath
Concept & Realization
Andreas Horvath
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Supported by
Stadt Salzburg , Land Salzburg, Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Blu-ray (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
San Francisco - Golden Gate Award Int. Film Festival
Oberhausen - Int. Kurzfilmtage
Vila do Conde - Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens
Sarajevo - Int. Film Festival
Zagreb - 25fps Film & Video Festival
Belo Horizonte - Festival Int. de Cortas Metragens
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
Neubrandenburg (D) & Szczecin (PL) - dokumentART Film & Video Festival
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival
Mar del Plata - Int. Film Festival