Foreign Film Series: EO
EO is a donkey working for a Polish circus. He performs in an act with Kasandra, who loves and protects him. When animal rights activists help get the circus shut down, EO is taken away and brought to a horse stable to work. In the truck being transported and at the stables, EO sees horses running free and being pampered. After knocking over a shelf of trophies, EO is sent to a farm where he seems depressed and will not eat. He gives rides to children through woods where trees continue to be cut down to create space for humans. On paper, an existential Polish remake of a 1960s French arthouse classic about a donkey’s journey might seem intimidating, uninteresting, flat, droll, inaccessible, high art, but writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski is a filmmaking wizard. This is a story about a voiceless, armless, homeless, rights-less lead at the whim of the forces around him. The perspective triggers a flood of empathy and, to Skolimowski’s credit, opens an inner reservoir with the capacity to hold it all.