The Big Animal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Big Animal


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A circus camel, abandoned on the outskirts of a small Polish town, appears at the front gate of a middle-aged bank clerk (Jerzy Stuhr) and his wife (Anna Dymna), who adopt the exotic animal and find their drab lives infused with joy and possibility. The townspeople share their delight at first but gradually turn against them, threatened by the camel's strangeness and angered by the clerk's refusal to exploit the beast. Krzysztof Kieslowski scripted this charming fable in 1973, adapting a story by Kazimierz Orlos, but the screenplay was never finished and lay dormant until after Kieslowski's death, when Stuhr resurrected it as a tribute to his mentor. Beautifully shot in black and white by Pawel Edelman (The Pianist), this 2000 feature is both funny and unexpectedly touching. 73 min. Music Box.

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