Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Horse Whisperer

If you've seen the film, the poster shown here either gives you chills or makes you say, "That documentary was not what I expected." That's a good thing.

By all definitions, Zoo would be a hard sell. A man dies after being screwed by a horse. The man was part of the U.S. government. He did this on a farm in Washington that catered to that sort of thing. This is a documentary about that man, only none of the real subjects are shown. After all, who appear on camera for this sort of thing? When you hear the description you can kind of only cringe ... except it's done almost poetically. It doesn't make excuses for it, but it also doesn't paint it to be the crime of the century.

I love documentaries. A good one can take even the most mundane subject and make it fascinating. They can be used as propaganda. They can call facts into question or mislead. When done right, they open your eyes to a world you either knew existed but didn't know much about or one you never knew was right under the surface. This film is probably going to be the latter for most of you.

I always knew people screwed animals or got screwed by them, but about a decade ago I was introduced to some people and publications that showed just how in-depth and organized that world truly is. Horses. Dogs. Monkeys. Dolphins. Zoophiles love every kind of animal imaginable, and the ones I dealt with seemed very respectable of their "lovers." (As an aside, I know of three people in Humboldt who have personally confessed to this sort of behavior. Two females. One male. Their counterparts? Two horses and a dog.) So while the documentary didn't show me a new aspect of society, it did shine a lot of light on the man who was fortunate enough to die doing what he loved.

The film's style is fascinating and worth watching for that alone. The subject matter is handled with nothing but respect. The story is nothing short of amazing. Yes, it is odd and definitely not something polite people talk about around the dinner table, but that is what makes it so important. These people exist. They work with you, serve your food, teach your kids, fill your cavities, date your son. Don't you think you should know more about them? See that maybe they aren't the deviant in a trenchcoat that you imagine.

Ignore it if you will, but I guarantee that if you watch it, it won't be anything like you expect.

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