Week of June 23, 2004

The Big Animal (Duze Zwierze) (unrated) Jerzy Stuhr. Mining a script by the late, marvelous Krzysztof Kieslowski (Decalogue and Red, White and Blue), director/actor Jerzy Stuhr fashions an allegory with timeless and universal features enhanced by black-and-white film and communicated through minimalist but richly suggestive actions. A beautiful Bactrian camel, abandoned by a circus, accidentally becomes the property of Zygmunt (Stuhr) and Marysia Sawicki, whose lives alter as dramatically as those of the citizens of their Polish village. Friends and neighbors segue from bemused curiosity and affection to personal and political hostility as the Sawickis' attachment deepens. Effectively realized, The Big Animal proves again that less is more when the director thoroughly understands the poignant idea at the heart of the fable and trusts his audience to see contemporary parallels. In Polish with English subtitles. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, June 25, through Sunday, June 27, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)

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