The Zookeeper’s Wife, a film by Niki Caro, is the visual adaptation of non-fiction book of the same name by Diane Ackerman. This film depicts the plight of Jews in Poland in 1939 during Nazi invasion (World War II). But the film is not about the war crisis, but it is more about how good elements of the society choose to give hope, share love and compassion with the victims. It is about how a few people grew beyond their self-interest to help the needy. The film does make one believe in the humanity and reinstate one’s faith in the goodness. War is just the backdrop, not the main focus. The film focuses on the aftermath of the violence, and how the protagonists risk their own lives to help the people who are suffering. This is the real-life story of Antonina Zabinska and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski, who are the keepers of Warsaw Zoo. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when Germany invades and occupies Poland. The film is about how the couple decided not to succumb to the odds and do their best possible so as to save Jews from being killed by Germans. A film with soul.
The film begins in Warsaw in 1939. Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldnberg) run Warsaw Zoo. The initial frames itself are very compassionate ones, where Antonina rides her bicycle through the main paths of the zoo.
Antonina and Dr. Jan’s lives turn upside down when Germans invade and occupy Poland. They felt so helpless to see their animals being slaughtered or moved to Berlin Zoo by Dr. Heck (Daniel Bruhl), a zoologist and head of Berlin Zoo. Antonina and Jan were not ready to be mere spectators of the ordeal their people and country were facing. They gathered themselves and started working in a covert manner to save as many people as possible. The Zoo which was home to many animals now becomes the shelter for many Jews. Dr. Heck keeps a sharp vigil over them. How the couple extends help towards the needy and fights the danger of hiding over 300 Jewish people over the course of the entire war, keeping it a secret etc. form rest of the film.
Actors are terrific, be it Jessica Chastian, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Bruhl.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a film depicting real-life story, where war is just the backdrop, not the main focus. The film focuses on the aftermath of the violence, and how the protagonists risk their own lives to help the people who are suffering. A film with soul.
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good +)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Jessica Chastian (Antonina Zabinski), Johan Heldenbergh (Jan Zabinski), Michael McElhatton (Jerzyk), Daniel Bruhl (Lutz Heck)
Director: Niki Caro
Producers: Jeff Abberley, Jamie Atriccof, Diane Miller Levin, Kim Zubick, Julia Blackman
Based on: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
Screenplay by: William Wheeler
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography: Andrij Parekh
Edited by: David Coulson
Production Companies: Scion Films, Electric City Entertainment, Tollin Productions, Rowe/Miller Productions
Distribution by: Focus Features
Duration: 2 hours 8 minutes
Release Date: 21st April, 2017