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Stars: Sandra Drzymalska, Isabelle Huppert, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Lolita Chammah, Anna Rokita

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Live-action films centred on donkeys are pretty thin on the ground. Offhand, only Never Take No for an Answer and Au Hasard, Balthasar spring to mind; even the scene-stealing 'wee donkey' from The Banshees of Inisherin is only a peripheral character.

Despite its being a contender for best foreign film Oscar, Eo is not in the same class as these; the incidents along the way, as Eo journeys on, are less interesting and, in the case of one shoehorned in with Huppert at the end, pretty superfluous.

You might also ask why Eo doesn't graze contentedly at Huppert's mansion instead of stumbling towards the dark ending that the director has devised for him.

Sad-eyed Eo (played by six different donkeys) begins the film as part of a Polish circus act, much loved by his girl trainer (Drzymalska), who is desolate when animal rights protesters force horses, camels and Eo away from the show. Eo is sent to a horse stud farm but, after a tearful visit from his former mistress, breaks out and begins his journey.

At a football match, he brays out at the moment of a missed penalty (would that Harry Kane had such an excuse at the World Cup) and is beaten up by the rival team, one of a series of violent acts along the way in a movie that will be no friend of the Polish Tourist Board.

David Quinlan

Poland/Italy 2022. UK Distributor: BFI. Colour (unspecified).
88 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Feb 2023