Veteran Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski’s gripping new drama, which shared the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes competition, follows a sentient donkey as it experiences the best and worst mankind has to offer.
Told through a series of visually striking vignettes and accompanied by a sweeping score, the film’s anchor is the anthropomorphic eyes of a donkey that senses its way through the wheels of fortune. These include helpless indenturement inside a travelling circus under the care of wide-eyed Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska), heading full speed for a glue factory on Mateo’s (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) lorry, a fractious adventure with prodigal son–turned-priest Vito (Lorenzo Zurzolo), and a peek inside the so-called good life in the bourgeois home of a bored housewife named The Countess (Isabelle Huppert). We are only left to guess what Eo — after seeing the best and worst of humanity — would think.
Skolimowski’s chef d’oeuvre makes clear that we’re not so different from the most common beasts: we are born, briefly experience suffering and (if lucky) love, are unceremoniously exploited for our labour, and then we die. EO, a loving homage to Robert Bresson’s Au Hazard Balthazar, is a beautifully photographed, fable-like journey through contemporary Europe that asks us to live our lives with the same humility and dignity as our animals do.
“[Skolimowski] eschews a conventional plot to make something that sits between fiction and non-fiction, nature documentary and avant-garde mood piece. If there’s any message behind EO, it’s that animals — donkeys especially — are still treated with plenty of brutality, whereas they are what manage to make our world such a beautiful place […] If there are some movies that play better on a big screen in a dark theatre with the sound turned up, this is one of them.” –The Hollywood Reporter
Polish, English, French, Italian
Tickets: $15 Admission (+applicable taxes and fees)