Eo is a Polish film that pointedly comments on society as it follows a circus donkey on an emotional journey across Europe. Source: Australian Catholics.
Loosely inspired by the 1966 French movie masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar, the film follows the life of donkey Eo who escapes from captivity when his circus closes down.
The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards in 2023, and it shared the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022. It won the New York Film Critics Circle Award as Best International Film in 2022 and was voted as one of top five Foreign Language Films by the National Board of Review. It was also awarded Best Foreign Language Film by the National Society of Film Critics in 2023.
Most societies have story-telling and fables that feature anthropomorphised animals as characters. [Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, intentions and emotions to animals.] In Eo, animal behaviour is used to explain, or offer commentary on, naturally occurring phenomena in humans, who are willing or unwilling participants in significant historical events.
The film brilliantly targets the emotions that surround Eo in how people relate to him. Disney and Pixar images are designed to be vehicles for human feeling, but Eo is different. He is a loveable, live donkey and his apparent humanness creates a willingness in us to ponder and think about who we are. Eo causes us to attribute moral concerns that motivate us to like or dislike particular kinds of human activity. The issues the film raises are diverse and significant: they widely encompass cruelty to animals, climate change, high technology robotics, the decadence of the rich, human kindness and animal slaughter.
The film is a unique mix of imagery that confronts reality and the absurd.
Eo: Starring Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo, and Isabelle Huppert. Also Mateusz Kosciukiewicz. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. Rated MA15+. (A scene of strong violence). 87 min.
Review by Peter W Sheehan, Jesuit Media
Eo (Australian Catholics)