I went to the zoo the other day

Luo Li director/writer, 68 min., fiction, video (2009)

zoo_still_snake_widescreen

“This film is on human and non human animals, it is about feeling displaced and lost. In the stinted aesthetics of a documentary film ‒ no colour, no music, a sometimes shaky picture ‒ Li draws a connection between two Serbian immigrants and caged animals at the zoo. While the protagonists, Dragana and Danilo, start to identify with Elephants or Apes, we, the cinema goers, become aware that we look the same way at both the animals and the visitors of the zoo: Both we watch with the same kind of voyeuristic gaze . . . Luo Li’s zoo is an ‘animal city’.”

–  Dr. Friedrich Weltzien, Freie Universität Berlin

Danilo feels down. Dragana takes him to the zoo. This film is about two friends, young immigrants from former Yugoslavia, and their experience visiting the Toronto Zoo. Throughout the day they look at the exhibits and converse through little stories, most of which are about animals. As the journey goes on, their interior worlds are slowly revealed.

The project originated in China where the director is from, then was shot and completed in Canada.  Though it was written and directed in English, the main characters in the film spoke in Serbian, the actors’ home language.

The film is a quiet reflection on the interrelationships between humans and animals. It questions the ways we see others. In the context of increasing global migration and urbanization, the film calls attention to the similarities between modern city dwellers and zoo animals. It attempts to express the ambiguous feelings towards displacement and alienation.

Watch the trailer.

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