A documentary about bestiality has premiered at what has in recent years provided some harsh competition for Sam Wagner’s Coney Island Freak Show: The Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance is the annual event where many little known directors, actors and producers can have their work put on very public display while Robert Redford bitches about President Bush.

Today is what a psychologist has called “blue Monday,” and it’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year for a number of reasons (not listed: “Hillary has announced she’s running for president” and “football season is all but over”). I don’t know this particular day being depressing, but for me, it’s one of the strangest and borderline humorous days of the year.

Thankfully, I’ve never read the review of a bestiality movie, but I stumbled upon one this morning that appeared in the Los Angeles Times and has been reprinted in other papers. The review is about a movie entitled “Zoo” that had its premiere at Sundance.

Here’s a bit of the review:

“Zoo” is a documentary about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as “the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible.” But remarkably, an elegant, eerily lyrical film has resulted.

“Zoo,” premiering before a rapt audience Saturday night at Sundance, manages to be a poetic film about a forbidden subject, a perfect marriage between a cool and contemplative director (the little-seen “Police Beat”) and potentially incendiary subject matter: sex between men and animals. Not graphic in the least, this strange and strangely beautiful film combines audio interviews (two of the three men involved did not want to appear on camera) with elegiac visual re-creations intended to conjure up the mood and spirit of situations.

Hey, is it hot in here? Somebody turn on the air, will ya? Man, I can almost smell the scented candles and saddle leather from here.

It would have been difficult to give the movie a bad review, as “this film is a dog” wouldn’t have necessarily been a negative thing. At any rate, here’s a little more. Put on your flea collar and bite down on the bridle:

Devor and his writing partner, Charles Mudede, live in Seattle and were stunned, as were many in the state, by a story that broke in 2005 about a local man who died after having sex with an Arabian stallion. Though bestiality is not illegal in Washington, the subsequent revelation of the existence of an Internet-based zoophile community (the men refer to themselves as “zoos,” hence the title) was a shock.

If this movie does big business, look for it to encourage others. How long can it be until movies like “She likes it ruff,” “Octopussycat,” and “Brokeback barnyard” (“Why can’t I quit you, Mr. Ed?”) make their glorious debuts at Sundance?

So now we know that it’s possible to make an “elegant” and “eerily lyrical” film about the subject of bestiality – At least it is from one human being’s perspective. The horse, however, gives the film “two hooves down.”

When some of these particularly warm adjectives are used to describe a movie about the rape of animals, it’s clear that the desensitization of our society is developing some deep roots. Where’s PETA when we really need them?

Some are saying ”see a movie before bashing it,” but this is more of a review of a review than a commentary on the film. I’m not saying that it’s not possible to make a well-produced bio-pic on an extremely ugly topic, but it’s funny when a reviewer writes of a movie that tackles this type of subject matter as if it’s “Gone with the Wind.” If that were the case, the old nag, Woebegone, might have wanted to be shot.


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