Blu-ray & DVD: EO (2022)
Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski and inspired by Robert Bresson’s 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar, EO follows the life of donkey Eo and all the places he trots to, and the people he meets.
An almost picaresque tale (without Eo being a rogue) or incidence and, yes, heartbreak and of course horror.
Eo is a circus donkey and is cared for by his young female trainer who loves him and caresses him. Animal rights activists get the circus closed because of all the animals and here Eo begins his journey, living with people who care, and people who don’t.
It’s a rather beautiful film to watch, and Eo himself is beyond adorable with his huge ears and sad dark eyes. You believe just by looking at his face what he’s thinking about these sub-humans. THAT’S how good this film is (because of course it’s a film and the donkey doesn’t hate the actor who’s skinning foxes for fur coats). But what were these ‘actor-donkeys’ really thinking? (6 donkeys played the titular role). No one knows, but we the audience believe he’s the innocent, while humans are mostly horrible.
I really didn’t want to watch this, as I knew it would be one of those ‘got to be in the right mood for it’ films. Any film with animals, even Disney films, I find a gruelling watch because they are filled with suffering (even if its pretend suffering) for that animal. There are several incidences in this film that made me feel terribly upset (which is exactly what the makers want) and at times it’s a hard watch, no… to be honest it’s a hard watch from beginning to end. I know I am probably too sensitive but…. despite this being a gorgeous looking film, with great heart and more or less depicts how the vast majority of animals lives are utter crap, it’s not a film I’d choose to watch again, but that’s because I can’t stand the mistreatment of animals, and although all the animals in this film were treated with the upmost care. Nope.
It’s a film to watch only once. Then have a good cry, and if you’re not already a vegetarian this will make you one.
- Jerzy Skolimowski & Ewa Piaskowska on the making of EO (2022, 26 mins): director Jerzy Skolimowski and co-writer Ewa Piaskowska discuss the making of EO at the New York Film Festival.
- Skolimowski A to Ż (2023, 52 mins, audio only): an alphabetical journey through the work of Jerzy Skolimowski with writer Michael Brooke
- High Rise Donkey (1980, 56 mins): in this Children’s Film Foundation adventure, three children who live in a high-rise tower block try to save a donkey from two small-time crooks
- The Clown and His Donkey (1910, 4 mins): this rare silhouette animation by Charles Armstrong depicts a clown doing tricks with his donkey
- UK trailer and assorted teasers
- **FIRST PRESSING ONLY** Fully illustrated booklet with a new essay by Ewa Mazierska, an interview with Jerzy Skolimowski by David Thompson and Christina Newland’s original review for Sight & Sound. Also includes writing on High Rise Donkey by Children’s Film Foundation expert Vic Pratt and full film credits
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by the BFI.