Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Big Animal |
Actors: Jerzy Stuhr, Anna Dymna, Krzysztof Kieslowski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
THE BIG ANIMAL, scripted by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski (DECALOGUE, THREE COLORS TRILOGY) and shot in shimmering black-and-white by Pawel Edelman (the Oscar®-nominated cinematographer for Roman Polanski?s THE PIANIST) is... more »
The beast and the people
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 04/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most people daydream as children about having an exotic pet.
But in "The Big Animal (Duze Zwierze)," a middle-aged Polish couple discovers that it's not as delightful as it sounds. The movie is a simple, powerful allegory written by Krzysztof Kieslowsk, filmed in luminescent black-and-white, and with a bittersweet message about narrow-minded cruelty.
The middle-aged Sawicki's are silently eating dinner, until Marysia (Anna Dymna) notices something moving out in the garden -- a camel. The next day, Zygmunt (Jerzy Stuhr) proudly parades the camel before the other townspeople, and tries to deal with government red tape -- should the camel be registered as a horse? No, you can't shoe it.
Of course, all the townspeople are initially delighted. But when they urge Zygmunt to cash in on the camel, he refuses -- he and his wife love the camel, and respect its dignity. And so slowly the small-minded citizens turn on the Sawickis and their beloved pet, with devastating results.
On one level, "The Big Animal" can be seen as an allegory for the Communist times in Poland. But it can also be seen as a more universal allegory about the cruelty of many people: a small-minded, cunning, greedy community can wreck something as simple as a childless couple's love for an animal.
And a lot of the movie's sadness comes from that theme, with the poor Sawickis risking everything because they just want to love their new pet. And who could be happy in such a community after seeing its ugly side? But Stuhr highlights the sweet moments as well, such as when Zygmunt plays the clarinet to the camel. There's even some humor, when the poor guy tries to deal with all the red tape -- some sly pokes at restricting governments.
Director/actor Stuhr strips filmmaking to the bone in this -- the camerawork is straightforward without any tricks, rendered in crisp, shining black and white. And Stuhr sticks to the simple images -- Zygmunt taking the camel for long walks -- as well as pretty, bittersweet dialogue ("Nobody will do you harm, because you're free!").
The primary cast is basically Stuhr and Dymna, who convey the innocent kindness of truly good people with amazing skill and depth. Most of the other human actors are playing typical greedy hypocrites -- they think that anything different is wrong, if it's not being used. And though he isn't technically "acting," the camel deserves props for giving the film a center -- serene and dignified.
Bittersweet and charming, "The Big Animal" is an exquisite example of filmmaking at its most simple, with a story that will wring a few tears even from hardened moviegoers."
One of the best movies EVER
John in Vermont | 02/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Clearly a subtitled, B&W, slow moving film is not for everyone, but this is on my Top10 EVER film list. No flash filming here, just timeless story-telling, amazing acting and a camel that will keep you saying "I can't believe it!" Take a chance! You will love this movie and want to share it with lots of other people you know."
More than meets the eye
Evan Getz | Waco, TX USA | 05/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Big Animal" is a film that grew on me. The pacing is excruciatingly slow next to Hollywood standards, and the first time you see this movie you may not be hooked. I had to watch it twice to really get it.
What appears to be a cute story about a camel showing up in the backyard of a Polish couple is much, much more. I do not want to give much away about the movie, but a sensitive viewer will naturally ask lots of questions once they mull over the details of the plot and characters. In short, the film is a perfect satire of socialist Poland, at times quite serious and other times not. If you are a fan of Kieslowski or Polish cinema, do not miss this gem."
A Movie That Will Stay With You
Diana Sedenquist | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am thrilled to discover that "The Big Animal" is available on DVD. I saw it for the first time several years ago at a film festival in LA and found it moving, powerful, and highly memorable. It seeps in on an emotional level and stays there."