Not all are actors and actresses on the big screen. A donkey is the absolute protagonist of “Eo”, by veteran Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, one of the films in contention for the Palme d’Or presented this Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival.
The animal, which is rescued from a circus, is taken to a farm where it escapes. He then begins a journey that takes him to totally unusual places for him, such as a football match or a luxurious Italian villa.
The 84-year-old filmmaker pays tribute with “Eo” to Robert Bresson’s film “Baltasar’s Random”, also starring a donkey, and assures that he has wanted to make a film “to see the world in a broader way, from a different point of view,” according to the film’s statement.
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The film, an ode to the defense of animals and against mistreatment, shows the gray donkey with a melancholy look that seems to discover, astonished, the horses locked in the stables, a fox shot dead by hunters or a bird that falls struck by the blades of a wind turbine.
Skolimowski explains that to shoot with the donkey in question, named Tako, “the only way to convince him to do something was tenderness: words whispered in his ear and some friendly caresses.” But, according to the filmmaker, working with the animal had an advantage: “the donkeys don’t know how to ‘act’, they are incapable of pretending anything, they simply are”.
In fact, it was necessary to work with five more donkeys, all similar to Tako, to complete the film. Among the actors participating in the film is the French actress Isabelle Huppert with a small role.
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Skolimowski has thirty films behind him and has competed on numerous occasions at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1978 he won the Grand Jury Prize with “The Scream” and, four years later, he won the award for best screenplay with “Clandestine Work”, starring Jeremy Irons.