Cannes Film Festival
We all have things we don’t like about movies. For some it is horror and bloodshed for others, nudity and sex. For my part, I’ve always found it painful to watch a movie where animals are shown being abused.
I was dreading the prospect of seeing the new movie EOBrave, by Robert Bresson Balthazar random, a painful masterpiece in which a donkey is ground to dust by the brutality of the world. But I knew I was It was To watch it because it was made by one of my cinematic heroes, Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, who at 84 has a stunning career resurgence of late. So I dragged myself into the show. And I’m glad I did. Far from being a procession of misery, EO is a fantastical and thrilling work of filmmaking: a strange and haunting saga about a donkey who couldn’t feel more than our moment.
The donkey’s name is EO, and when the action begins, EO is part of a small circus act with a loving young female trainer. But when the circus explodes, the EO is sold to farmers. They don’t treat EO badly but the donkey remembers a happier past life and soon runs off, beginning a journey across modern Europe that takes EO from forests and towns to villas and junk heaps the size of small Alps.
Now, a movie like this usually focuses on the mean people that surround the EO tours. But the people here aren’t all bad. Along the way, EO encounters every kind of human being from the kind to the brutal and heartless. But in a bold move, Skolimowski does not give precedence to the human side of things. He remains centered around the donkey hero, giving EO’s existence an autonomy and equal value to any of the humans we meet. We get to see the world from EO’s point of view—the film’s eerie beauty suggests animal perceptions—and share the donkey’s feelings.
Skolimowski constantly shows us EO’s dark eyes, which seem to take on the measure of modern life. What they watch and judge is our world with its rampant depredation of nature and, in particular, its treatment of animals — from looming wind turbines that slaughter birds in flight, to hunters with laser-guided rifles to shoot wolves, to an artificial diet that pushes animals beyond what they don’t. End at the meat packing plant. We spend the movie afraid of what might happen to EO.
Now, the sense of the universe coming out at you has been present in Skolimowski’s work from the very beginning. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his father was executed by the Nazis and he himself grew up under the oppression of communist Poland. A man of many gifts – he was also a boxer, poet, painter, and actor, even in the Marvel movies! Skolimowski had a great time from the 60’s to the 80’s, making great movies like roadblockAnd the deep end And the moon light. Then in his mid-40s, he seemed to be turning to movie relief. What no one would have guessed is that in his eighth decade, he is on fire again, directing films such as Basic kill And the 11 minutes That crackle is boldly young-punk.
This skill is displayed everywhere in EO, with its streaming camera, color filters, aggressive music and sheer confidence about throwing viewers into a world of donkeys where there is more poetry than plot and no one explains what’s going on. The movie is so loud, free and creative that if I didn’t know Skolimovsky made it, I would have assumed it was the work of a brilliant 25-year-old figuring out what he – and movies – can do.
part of what makes EO You feel so alive that it speaks to the massive and ongoing shift in awareness of animals and our growing realization that we are being horribly treated by them. It is a film full of sympathy for the exploited and mistreated creatures of this world, and an outrage towards those who, through malice or thoughtlessness, perpetuate cruelty towards the weak.
Jean-Luc Godard famously said that Bresson’s movie about donkeys gave you “the world in an hour and a half.” You could say the same as Skolimowski’s remake, which might be another way of telling you this is a movie that might leave you crying.
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