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Being Zoo

By Adam Thomas

Friday August 17, 2007

If you can stand back a little bit it becomes easier to see the dilemma. Sexual deviancy can take any form, and by simply suggesting deviancy is to imply that there is a standard, normal way of doing things. But is it all just straight forward vanilla style stuff, and if you like a finger in the bum or a horse cock you’re a total freak? Granted, there are levels of commonality that people generally consider standard practice, but those levels are always expanding as experiences are shared publicly or even secretly, and tolerance gives way to acceptance. Regardless it is still perhaps a little odd that some people would seek comfort in the arms or paws of an animal instead of oh, let’s say, someone of the same species.

Director Robinson Devor’s documentary Zoo is a film that explores exactly that dilemma and manages to capture the unique and sensitive possibilities concerning an actual case of bestiality–or as the practitioners prefer to call it, Zoophilia–that in 2005 led to a man’s death and to Washington State making sex with animals officially illegal. Zoo is an unusual work, a film that operates a little like Errol Morris’ Thin Blue Line by using voice over, audio interviews and shadowy re-enactments to explore the emotional and physical truth behind the events where a man known only as Mr. Hands died when his sigmoid colon was ruptured by a horse cock.

Beautifully filmed and based on extensive audio interviews with people who were actually there, we gain a sincere understanding into their perspectives towards their sexuality. Those expecting lurid video of bestiality and explicit horse fucking will have to stay at home and double click farm animal sex, because the film offers none of that. Instead we get a glimpse into the emotional and philosophical mind-scape of a sexual subculture where men meet, talk, make friends and then participate in what they genuinely see as tender expressions of affection with the only ones who don’t judge them. Just don’t forget to bring some hay as a thank you afterwards.

Starts tonight and runs until the 21st at Vancity Theatre