Cremeschnitte [Yan Jin, United States, 2021]

Cremeschnitte is more a video art piece than a conventional movie and, because of that, it has a strong power to expose controversial issues – geopolitics, hate, intercultural discussions, international disputes between bordering countries – in a very intelligent way. The documentarian power of this film is enhanced by using original archive footage taken from different Eastern European countries, and mixing them with effective graphics and maps, which anchors the storytelling in a natural way. Only some minor details could be suggested in order to improve the narration. For instance, having more coherence when a certain country is mentioned (Czech Republic), where footage from another country (Romania) is being shown, and could be a particular problem for people familiar with these territories.

Nevertheless, Yan Jin takes an interesting approach to these debatable matters using the cremeschnitte, cremşnit, or krémeš (depending on the country where you can find this dessert) as a link between people with different origins. The young director uses it as a pretext to talk about serious questions, and it shares a strong connection with Noam Chomsky’s linguistic theories, according to whom language is universal and a handful tool, not exclusive to a certain nation or group of people.

We don’t know the exact origin of the word ‘cremeschnitte’, we don’t know if the Germans, the Austrians or the Romanians coined it first, but what we do know is that no matter where you go in Eastern Europe, this delicious dessert will be present, and even if there is no universal word to define it, all of this region’s population are able to identify it.

 

'Cremeschnitte' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2021.

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