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The Big Animal

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Director: Jerzy Stuhr
2003 / 73min / 35mm

From a screenplay by Krzysztof Kieślowski, who died four years before its release, Stuhr’s absurdist, Kafka-inspired The Big Animal tells the tale of a bank employee (Stuhr himself, a recurring performer in Kieślowski’s films) who, one fine day, discovers that a fugitive Bactrian camel from a traveling circus has taken up residence in his garden, and tasks himself with caring for the beast, much to the eventual chagrin of his wife (Anna Dymna), neighbors, and village authorities. Shot in stark black and white by the formidable Paweł Edelman, Stuhr’s film gives its ludicrous set-up a deadpan, realist treatment, creating a bittersweet and deeply affecting fable.

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