22 Jan 2007

The Love That Dares Not Bleat Its Name

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Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival brings us the next cinematic breakthrough in defense of unpopular sexual minorities, following the example of Brokeback Mountain. This year’s cutting edge entry is titled: Zoo.

Zoo” is a documentary about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as “the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible.” But remarkably, an elegant, eerily lyrical film has resulted.

“Zoo,” premiering before a rapt audience Saturday night at Sundance, manages to be a poetic film about a forbidden subject, a perfect marriage between a cool and contemplative director (the little-seen “Police Beat”) and potentially incendiary subject matter: sex between men and animals. Not graphic in the least, this strange and strangely beautiful film combines audio interviews (two of the three men involved did not want to appear on camera) with elegiac visual re-creations intended to conjure up the mood and spirit of situations. The director himself puts it best: “I aestheticized the sleaze right out of it.”..

I was certainly asked many times, often with a wrinkled brow, ‘Why are you making this film?’ It was something I did resent; I thought artists had the opportunity to explore anything.”

In the end, Devor ended up agreeing with the Roman writer Terence, who said “I consider nothing human alien to me.”

“It happens,” the filmmaker said, “so it’s part of who we are.

Maybe of who you are, Devor.

As far as I’m concerned: “He may be a brother of Big Bill Taft, but he ain’t no brother of mine.”

Get ready for next year’s cinematic sensation, Funeral Parlor.


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