Friday, July 2, 2010

Zoo, documentary about "Mr. Hands"

This is not an easy documentary to share with people. Its about a group of men who have sex with a horse. They get much unwanted attention from the law and the media when one of them is mortally injured and bleeds to death.

This is not a gross-out documentary although the subject might be difficult to stomach. This is not a tear-jerking sympathy story although the subject might be tragic. Most of all, this is not a documentary that tells you how to feel.

The story is told through the voices of the people actually involved. The filmmakers collected the most vivid and humanizing interviews with the men who call themselves 'zoo' and edited it together with the most moody cinematography of rural Washington. What is most striking about the narration is how the men talk about their intent for the animals.

Immediately, the viewer begins to wonder if the animals were at all harmed by the sexual encounters. By the intents of the men, these horses were very well taken care of. Jokes aside, these were some happy horses. Once the presence of a victim becomes less and less clear, so does the legal discussion of animal rights.

I understand that most people will not want to see this movie and would not appreciate it. The distinction between personal ethics and social morality is a mute point and they are incapable of dialogue. This group of people is not limited to vegans. I find that most people have actually made up their mind on the issue. The issues of liberty are lost on them. They have decided that the animals are in danger and no amount of contrary evidence is going to sway them. The men are in-condonable.

I found this movie because I am a fan of Stranger writer Charles Mudede. He is credited as a writer on Zoo, so I rented it from Scarecrow Video. You can also rent the movie from Netflix. If none of those options appeal to you, you can watch the entire film on YouTube:

There is something very American about these sorts of discussion. They seem to resonate with our value for the pursuit of happiness. Also, they bring to mind the cultural attitude that, although I find your behavior abominable, I defend your right to do it. Your sins are irreproachable.

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