Clearly inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, this 2022 polish movie follows the life of donkey that, after escaping from a polish circus sets on a “picaresque” journey through Europe, witnessing various realities of modern european countries along its aimless wander.
And intriguingly enough here it’s in theathers, limited release but not that fleeting, it stuck around more than Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, so that’s nice.
As expected the titular donkey and his accidental European trip is a device to depict various episodes of humanity and its often unsavoury sides, sampled through many various vignettes, going from Eo joining a farm with other mules to being used as a scapegoat by violently murderous football fanatics, being rescued by robot dogs, used as workforce in an illegal fur farm, and so on…
So the donkey himself isn’t the focus of the narration, makes sense but since we’ve seen this type of film done before, EO it’s kinda disappointing because it straddles between committing to fully characterize the animal protagonist (even indirectly) or fully utilizing his role as a narrative tool to eviscerate humanity’s many, many facets.
I’d prefered it “went harder” in many ways, because the execution often made me wish the movie would committ to show more small, gritty or unflinchingly realistic stories, or to contextualize more the ones shown. That and while it’s sincere, at times i felt it was a bit too enamored with being artsy for its own sake, and again, the final result feels compromised and hence it never properly achieves the emotional potency it clearly wishes for.
It’s not a long watch, it does have some very effective moments, i was intrigued all the way and i would recommend watching if you can, but i won’t deny i also felt kinda disappointed by it.