Sebastian Mez has found a unique and creative way to tell a story. His film Letter from Germany (Ein Brief aus Deutschland, 2011), winner of FEDEORA critics prize for documentaries by directors under 33, focuses on the experience of three women (Robina, Blanka and Ileana) from Eastern Europe who left home in the hope for something better and whose lives are now dominated by pain and exploitation. Three anonymous voices off read from letters, developing a close and personal relationship regardless of the distance and the contrast in time and space. These voices, with different tone colours, help the viewer’s eye to move towards the past. This cycle starts with an ordinary security camera in a small village in Hungary, with the voice of a woman who has gone abroad to ensure a better life for her family and children. The landscape, an idyllic atmosphere and silence will be used consistently, but with cultural and urban changes, depending on the three different biographies.
The use of a hand-held camera, with pan shots have an aesthetic function, recording the local reality (Hungary) then Romania, in a town that functions without a soul, only with uniform buildings which seem to be degraded by poverty and social distinctions. From a close-up view of the town, it shifts to Slovakia, also illustrated by a poor neighborhood, with a completely destroyed infrastructure inherited from the communist system. The voice of the narrator here is different because it is characterized by anger and constant revolt against the exploitation of women and against sex that is imposed by force. This becomes a leitmotif.
The travel sequences from three countries now focus on the road and is followed with black-and-white still frames, with an audio-visual counterpoint which illustrates metaphorically the emotional state of these women and their psychophysical pain. The still-frame often dominates over narrative structure. Many sequences make a difference between what is said and what is seen. Robina and Blanka, even though they are broken and full of anger and hatred, find a way to disappear from their hotel rooms and maybe join their families, while Iliana will remain inside, almost having a mental breakdown and suicidal tendencies. Security cameras, in the epilogue, unlike the prologue, appear in the form of a mosaic and here in every minute we see faceless people without identity. This documentary portrays sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women in Europe in a most original way.