Tag Archives: Niki Caro

The lady of the zoo in Warsaw


Directed by Niki Caro

Poland 1939. The brutal Nazi invasion brings death and devastation throughout Europe and the city of Warsaw is repeatedly bombed. Antonina Żabińska and husband, doctor Żabinski, directing the city zoo. When the country is invaded by the Nazis, Antonina and Jan are forced to take orders from the new zoologist imposed by Reich, Lutz Heck. Soon they will join the resistance and organize, risking their lives and the lives of their own children, saving many people confined in the Warsaw Ghetto. The zoo itself will serve as a hiding, concealing cages used to protect humans. The film is based on the novel by Diane Ackerman, essayist, American writer and poet. His articles have appeared in New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and he has won numerous awards, including l 'Orion Book Award precisely for this novel. Source of the book are the diaries of the true Antonina Żabińska.

A feminine film, between reason and feeling

It certainly can not say that The lady of the Warsaw Zoo is not a movie done right. It is, undoubtedly, and talks about something very important: He tells us in detail the Nazi invasion in Poland and how the people reacted, increasingly, to defend itself and its cultural openness. In this true story, linked to the zoo, until the exit of the novel Ackerman no one knew next to nothing and then it is certainly a film that is worth seeing, although unfortunately, compared to what could have been at issue and invoice level, really guilty of originality. Il film funziona, He has pace, and it is certainly good shot, enriched by the refined photography, although a bit ' "glam", of Andrij Parekh, but it is too classical and flat ... is the usual American film from the cut that we expect to see. The actors were all convincing and Chastain It is perfect for the part, as well as very good. However, the final result is weak and sometimes even excessively rhetorical, without accents. Very convincing Shira Haas, with its elegant and interesting face, in Urzula cloths. Perhaps the director, he had the makings of a big production, He declined to be on the classic, building something good without too unbalanced, but the subject was so powerful, per se, which from my point of view deserve much more, in terms of study and deepening of a narrative formula most sought. Ad ogni modo, la Expensive It continues its important attempt to bring the spotlight stories of real community: thing, given its undeniable professionalism, You can certainly do with more innovative and bold visions. Dubbing is unfortunately ugly, as often happens, and much penalizes the interpretation of Jessica Chastain.


The protagonist, nominated twice for an Oscar, It is engaged in the role of a woman who was his wife, mother, worker and that for many, During the Second World War, it became a heroine. Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country – Josey History), He directs the film written by Angela Workman and adapted from the book by Diane Ackerman, published in Italy by Sperling & copper from next 31 October and in turn taken from diaries Antonina Żabińska. An elaborate handover of all female, therefore, for this film developed slowly over 10 age, that branches in the large historical context of the Polish Resistance against the Nazi oppression. At the director he was interested in particular to develop the story of the way <<emerge, in the middle of a war, the size of the fight to preserve the daily life and marriage>>. As a woman, creator of life and sensitive to it in all its forms, Antonina applied to humans his innate understanding of animal psychology, trying to relieve their moods, for example through music. <<This story celebrates life in all its forms>> , says director, and the character played by Chastain It gives value to the spirit of all living beings resisting, as a woman, in fierce fear and destruction era. Antonina was fighting to stay attached to that which is good in people: to preserve the spirit of its guests and what makes us human. The underlying question, that emerges continuously from the story (but unfortunately not always from the film), is: <<Who are the real beasts?!>>. Life in the zoo highlights the central idea which led to the defeat of Hitler: you can not have control over Nature. The world goes on, Nature survives. Animal life at the bottom resists any dictatorship.


The state of Israel has honored the Żabiński mentioning them "Righteous among the Nations" for having given refuge in the beloved zoo to over 300 people, keeping them safe and making them survive the Holocaust. The screenplay was completed with the collaboration of the children of Zabinski, still alive: Lynx and Teresa, protagonists of the story.


This is the story of a Holocaust, because in fact, each experienced the same individual is different. The War Jan is that of a man who turns from intellectual minded, a soldier. The one of Antonina It is more visceral, made of compassion and defense of life, which culminates with childbirth, during the war. The Battle of Heck it was rather that of man against Nature: the zoologist had the animals to heart, but he was also ready to take on their genetic experiments, in an attempt to create mythological beasts; a controversial figure his, Nazi supporter of the idea of ​​an Aryan race that included humans, but also animals, through selective breeding. Heck was very obsessed by 'Hour, mighty bison that once populated the forests of Germany.

As already mentioned, in short, expect a very interesting story, but rather a form canonical.

In output in Italian cinemas 16 November 2017