“Bestiaire” is basically 72 minutes of large animals standing around their pens and stalls. Sometimes, you can see the entire animal. At times, they’re largely out of frame. There is no music or dialogue.
I didn’t know any of that when I sat down with a friend to see it at the LA Film Festival last year. And when the lights came up after the movie was over we just looked at each other quizzically. Oh yes, we agreed that we’d enjoyed what we’d just seen. But we couldn’t figure out why. By every cinematic rule, “Bestiaire” should be an utter (udder?) failure. But unless you grew up on a farm and have seen your share of cows and such, I’m going to guess that you’ll think that it is indeed, as the promo says, “a breathtaking look at interspecies observation.”
“Bestiaire” will run for a week at the Cinefamily, February 21st through the 27th. The evening also includes Rachel Mayeri’s Primate Cinema: Apes As Family (which just premiered at Sundance) and Nicolas Provost’s Moving Stories (the short which played before screenings of Bestiaire at Sundance last year) Check it out!