''EO may be one of the greatest movies ever made about the spirit of animals, as much as we can know it.’’ – Stephanie Zacharek, Time Magazine
This unique Polish film really got to me. As Stephanie Zacharek stated in her review, the film is a sort of ‘’joyful melancholy’’ and a true journey into the unpredictability and dynamism of life. EO, the donkey has an inherent purity and vulnerability about him, which is magnetic and truly makes audiences empathise with his sorrows, joys and overall experiences during the course of the film. There is something about the brightness of the colour red which is a motif in the film, and in my opinion, signifies the understated passion EO demonstrates in his path, as well as the danger he encounters on the literal roads he walks on.
I’ve been having a strong interest in animals and wildlife lately (which has mostly existed anyway), and watching this film reminds us of the persistent cruelty of humans towards animals. I do believe that it’s a daring film, which steps into the literal hooves of a creature (through ‘’donkey vision’’), and we are immersed in the unique and overlooked perspective of the protagonist in this beautiful yet tragic tale. I find it a great intersection of diverse lives and stories, with an empathy and connection, which is soulful and creative with its visual storytelling.
I really like the first description seen when searching for the movie: ‘’EO, a grey donkey with melancholy eyes, encounters good and bad on his journey through life, experiences joy and pain, and endures the Wheel of Fortune.’’ (IMDB) Jerzy Skolimowski and Ewa Piakowska (director and his co-writer/wife) had 6 donkeys (Hola, Tako, Marietta, Ettore, Rocco and Mela) play this enigmatic character. I also found the lead actress and love of EO’s life, Kasandra, who he is separated from, played by Sandra Drzymalslka, to be so intriguing. The detail she brought to her character; though not in many scenes, was attentive, nurturing and thoughtful. I found that I truly believed that she was EO’s best friend and protective companion. Even Isabelle Huppert’s cameo appearance in the film is fascinating, unpredictable and unexpected. EO’s unwavering innocence and gentleness, I believe, represents our ideal human condition, and the lives we lead with everyone we encounter on our own unique paths. We all have emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our selves, and the soul of EO triumphs, no matter what occurs for him.
He seeks connection and intimacy, and communicates this in the only ways a donkey can to us as humans. His tears are our tears. And we are all the better for it.