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350 Ratings


Directed by Denis Côté
Canada, France, 2012


The boundaries we place around animals are provocatively and formally explored in this meditation on the relationship between nature and humanity.

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Bestiaire Directed by Denis Côté
Through his choice of shots (animals filmed through bars, fences; partially obscured by walls and dividers) and his concentrating on filming animals in their non-public enclosures (more confining than their display areas), Côté continually draws our attention to the animals as captives. Deliberate or not, he has made a subtly unsettling film, one that is not just about observing, but about how and what we observe—on more than one level.
November 16, 2012
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Much of the movie consists of long, static takes of wild beasts in captivity doing little of interest, which is a clever way of rebuking the anthropomorphism of most animal films. By presenting human subjects in exactly the same manner, Coté turns the tables on us zoogoing gawkers. The approach wears thin after a while, but there’s no denying his pictorial talent.
November 15, 2012
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[Côté] doesn’t seem interested in making an animal-rights movie, even if, willingly or not, that is precisely, what he ended up with. This may not be a fuzzy wuzzy, warm-and-cuddly song to animals, but in revealing the everyday, sometimes repellent surrealism of the park — where zebras, elephants, camels and ostriches walk among slowly moving cars, and lions bang wildly against their small cages — he forces you to look at the often unseen. It may not be pretty, but it is essential viewing.
October 18, 2012
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