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also known as Duze Zwierze

The Big Animal2000

  • 4.4
A lovely, passionate film that exposes greed and pettiness while celebrating the most beautiful human themes: Love, friendship and tolerance. When the circus leaves town, Zygmunt Sawicki and his wife Marysia unwittingly adopt a camel into their family. The couple quickly forms a close bond with the nameless camel. At first the townspeople, too, are enthralled with the giant animal, since it is a welcome distraction from their everyday routine. As the bond between the couple and their camel grows stronger, the town-people suddenly begin to ostracize them. Renowned filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski wrote the screenplay (based on the novel, "Wielblad," by Kazimierz Orlos) in the 1970s, at the height of political oppression and social upheaval during the Communist era. This hothouse environment cultivated Poland's Cinema of Moral Anxiety and subversive criticism through the arts when it was difficult to speak openly. Mr. Kieslowki's friend Elzbieta Scotti safeguarded the script of THE BIG ANIMAL and after his death, returned it to his widow.

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"The camel is a lumbering metaphor: an incarnation of all those things that, however socially useless they may be (and whatever messes they may leave behind), nonetheless give life its joy, its value and its meaning. Things like movies." -A.O. Scott, NYT


1 member likes this review

A simple story dealing with complex issues. Why, in modern society, do some hate those who are 'different' instead of trying to understand them? Why do some want to force others to conform to their notion of normal? This film could have easily fallen into a trough of tropes or cliches, and the inclusion of a camel may have pushed it toward comedy or farce. Instead, this seemingly straightforward story is as 'real' as any told (at least that I can think of).

I recommend it for everyone, no matter your preferences in film.

Member Reviews (4)

A simple story dealing with complex issues. Why, in modern society, do some hate those who are 'different' instead of trying to understand them? Why do some want to force others to conform to their notion of normal? This film could have easily fallen into a trough of tropes or cliches, and the inclusion of a camel may have pushed it toward comedy or farce. Instead, this seemingly straightforward story is as 'real' as any told (at least that I can think of).

I recommend it for everyone, no matter your preferences in film.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

This is fascinating. Eastern European filmmaking is so different, especially in pacing. This is essentially a morality play with a huge protagonist. I enjoyed it. It is a clever allegory which unfortunately did not get to be made wh en it could actually do much good. Perhaps this should be transposed into a Burmese setting? Sublime

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top reviewer

So touching. Also a bitting commentary on society's harsh indictment of individuals straying from its predetermined norms. wonderful film!

wonderful