EO

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

EO
"The beast of burden’s travails seem to be a thinly veiled criticism of Polish society which erupts in one sequence into mindless violence." | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The veteran Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski at the ripe young age of 84 still manages to spring surprises and marks his return to the Cannes Film Festival with an odyssey about a donkey.

Separated from a circus after an animal rights protest the donkey embarks on a journey from which there is no return as he faces a world that is hostile to animals.

The backdrop through Poland and Italy includes apocalyptic images as the director confronts such issues as animals’ consciousness and how they communicate and the scandal of industrial farming.

The human race doesn’t emerge with much integrity intact, perfectly pleased to steal the innocence of animals while ignoring the fact that by doing so we lose our own humanity.

EO (say it out loud and it sounds like a donkey but actually is its name) was shot over two years and pays homage to the classic French film Au Hasard Balthazar by Robert Bresson, which also featured a donkey who is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel.

Episodic in structure Skolimowski even manages to include Isabelle Huppert in a rather bizarre episode that seems out of place with the rest.

The beast of burden’s travails seem to be a thinly veiled criticism of Polish society which erupts in one sequence into mindless violence.

Skolimowski is experienced enough to know that such a slender treatise should not overstay its welcome and brings it in at a crisp 90 minutes. It’s certainly one of the oddest and quirkiest offerings in the Competition which is quite some yardstick.

Reviewed on: 23 May 2022
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Tale revolving around an unassuming grey donkey.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Writer: Ewa Piaskowska, Jerzy Skolimowski

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Sandra Drzymalska, Tomasz Organek

Year: 2022

Runtime: 126 minutes

Country: Poland


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