The title character is a donkey with soulful eyes and a gentle disposition who travels around with a circus troupe under the care of performer Kasandra (Drzymalska), a tender young woman who treats him like a cherished pet. Of course it’s too good to last: when the circus goes bust, EO gets sent away. And so begins a series of adventures for this helpless, seemingly impassive creature, most of them unpleasant. Will EO find safety in a world dominated by the cruel, unthinking human race?
With an affectionate nod to Robert Bresson’s 1966 classic “Au Hasard Balthazar,” which also centered on a victimized donkey, veteran director Skolimowski has fashioned a surprisingly powerful, moving tale about man’s often brutal exploitation of other species. The placid, innocent EO stands in stark contrast to all the human-generated chaos and violence surrounding him. Skolimowski makes us love this creature, and we become wholly invested in his welfare. This miraculous feature is unabashedly cinematic, with a dramatic orchestral score and breathtaking cinematography. Beyond making us rue the human condition, “EO” also reaffirms the power and wonder of film itself. Don’t miss it.