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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Zoo (2007, ***)

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG . “Little Miss Chris Marker” this is not. Robinson Devor’s darkly bruised essay film on taboo, Zoo, finds him rejoining the writer, Charles Mudede, and cinematographer Sean Kirby, who together made the hypnotic slice of Pacific Northwest weirdness, Police Beat (2005). There’s some murkiness about which of the actual participants zoofphield.jpgin the events are heard or seen on film, and I’m content to consider it a fictional essay. Zoo, follows the reaction in the Washington after a gathering of “zoophiles,” who gathered on a ranch to have sex with horses, which was then legal in that state, led to the death of one man, whose handle, possibly from AOL, was “Mr. Hands” from a perforated colon. (There are three incredibly brief and distant bursts of imagery that are explicit.) As a succession of impressionistic reenactments, Zoo, visually, is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen this year. The way one image follows another is often majestically constructed, which makes one wonder what they will do next with a less unsavory subject. The fleet, assured, satisfying editing is very busy, with intermittent traveling shots that hold the weight of gravity. Dark color and shadow are bolder in Zoo, than brightest light. (The ecstatic fracture of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover (2002) also comes to mind.) Perhaps the taboo transgressed here is not bestiality, but the boundaries of cinematic genre. It’s unsettling more in its stylistic extremes than its ostensible subject matter of taboo otherness and self-justifying perversion. At moments, it also resembles a Clare Denis project photographed by fine arts photographer Gregory Crewdson. [Zoo expands to Austin on May 25.]

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“As these stories continue to break, in the weeks since women have said they were harassed and abused by Harvey Weinstein, which was not the birth of a movement but an easy and highly visible shorthand for decades of organizing against sexual harassment that preceded this moment, I hope to gain back my time, my work. Lately, though, I have noticed a drift in the discourse from violated rights to violated feelings: the swelled number of reporters on the beat, the burden on each woman’s story to concern a man “important” enough to report on, the detailed accounting of hotel robes and incriminating texts along with a careful description of what was grabbed, who exposed what, and how many times. What I remember most, from “my story” is how small the sex talk felt, almost dull. I did not feel hurt. I had no pain to confess in public. As more stories come out, I like to think that we would also believe a woman who said, for example, that the sight of the penis of the man who promised her work did not wound her, and that the loss she felt was not some loss of herself but of her time, energy, power.”
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