One of the year's more controversial documentaries, Zoo deals with the Enumclaw horsefucking case - a story which fascinates me, but seems to immediately turn off about half of the people I mention it to - particularly reactionary and inflexible young liberals, who are convinced, sight unseen, that it is a work of exploitation. This was not my reaction, and I've actually seen the film - a few times, now: Zoo is, believe it or not, tasteful and reflective and more unsettling - in a calm, creepy way - than exploitive. My only criticism would be that it pulls a few punches - it avoids going into a great deal of detail as to what the men were actually doing in the barn, and you get the feeling that more challenging questions might have been asked the zoophiles, whose interviews comprise most of the narration of the film and whom the filmmakers are at pains to normalize, perhaps feeling that their actions alone will do enough to make them look like weirdos to most people... Still, it's well worth seeing, and seeing again - it's one of those films that leaves you feeling a bit mystified and fascinated, unsure what has just happened to you, turning it over like a puzzle in your mind. Sean Kirby - who was also the DOP for Police Beat, a film I much love - captures the beauty of western Washington State and offers many compelling images - it feels, if a cheap comparison is excusable, like Errol Morris by way of David Lynch. Charles Mudede, co-author of the film (with director Robinson Devor) and author of the article linked about it - click on "Enumclaw horsefucking case" above - will be in attendance Friday and Saturday, and my interview with him (I hope in a more or less unchanged fashion!) will appear in the movie section of tomorrow's Georgia Straight. The film screens in a double bill with Your Mommy Kills Animals, about animal rights activism, which also sounds quite interesting.
It's funny: I made my break into publication with a story on Zev Asher's film on a controversial cat killing case, Casuistry; now I'm fording the wall of the Georgia Straight with a documentary on horse sex. People are going to start thinking I'm strange.