#CANNES22: “EO” REVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
EO is a donkey who is part of a circus in Poland. His owner Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska) and himself have a strong bond. She protects him even if he is being used by the circus for profit. However, when the circus gets shut down, EO is placed in a new home out of reach from Kasandra. After she pays him a visit one night, he breaks the farm gate in search of her. Instead, he meets good and bad people, experiences joy and pain, and endures the wheel of fortune randomly turning his luck into disaster.
This is a moving Film with a powerful message. We watch as EO is being mistreated by everyone he interacts with on his journey. As we watch the world through his eyes, we see how the world is a torturous place for him. Even at the start, Kasandra does what she can to protect her beloved EO but he still suffers from the Circus owners.
However, the level of cruelty to animals escalates and deescalates throughout. There is one particular moment when EO is beaten by a group that was previously celebrating him. Even though the abuse is off-screen, Writer-Director Jerzy Skolimowski makes sure that each painful hit is felt. This makes for a painful viewing experience, but a necessary one. Even in moments when EO isn’t being used, he is hurt in other ways. Near the end, EO ends up on an estate with a Countess (played perfectly by Isabel Huppert) and a young priest (Lorenzo Zurzolo). Although they don’t intentionally hurt him, they neglect him. He doesn’t have any other animal companions and they don’t respond to his cries.
The situations that EO finds himself in reflect the cruelty of humans to animals. Each situation plays out as a mini-chapter in EO’s journey. They almost feel like their own individual Short Films. Yet, Skolimowski ties them together into a hero’s journey for his Donkey protagonist. EO even gets a shot to fight back and aide fellow animals being abused.
Additionally, it’s one of the most visually stunning films of the year. The Cinematography by Michael Dymek thrusts us right into EO’s view of the world. We see it for all its natural beauty and brutality.
EO screens at Cannes ’22:
Thu, May 19 at 10 PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
Fri, May 20 at 11:30 AM at LICORNE
Fri, May 20 at 12 PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
Fri, May 20 at 7 PM at SALLE BAZIN
Sat, May 21 at 11:30 AM at CINEUM IMAX
Sun. May 22 at 6:30 PM at CINEUM IMAX
Thu, May 26 at 11:15 AM at ARCADES 1