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Zoo is a 75-minute documentary by Robinson Devor about a notorious death in the Seattle area. A man died from internal bleeding as the result of a ruptured intestine. He had been anally penetrated much earlier that night by a stallion. The incident uncovered a small coterie of men who had met for years without disturbance or incident to love horses. They are zoophiles, and at the time bestiality was not illegal in Washington State. Considering the subject matter, Zoo is neither sensational nor exploitative.

Rather it is moody and mesmerizing. Composer Paul Moore’s lush–and at times monotonous– score is the viewer’s almost constant companion. The film opens with a melee of slow and disorienting tiny lights coming out of a dark tunnel, something like the half dozen or so men from different places and walks of life who found each other through the internet. They gathered when they could on the weekends to party in the shadows of Mount Rainier and make love with their horses. They relaxed and got to know each other. Apparently, there is more to their love affairs than just compulsive sex. Zoo transports the audience into their closeted world while preserving the men’s privacy. Using audio-taped interviews with them, it recreates the characters using actors and alternate locations. Shot on film and edited in the tempo of a slow waltz, it looks great. The characters develop through their revelations, and the story builds toward the fatal incident.

Zoo ponders the men’s strange love lives without judgment or empathy. It presents the men who enjoyed coitus with stallions as curiosities, one of whom accidentally died. But in its delicacy, Zoo fails to delve into the distasteful aspects of just how these men are penetrated by such large and unruly beasts and why they enjoy it so much. (Linda Feesey)

Dir. Robinson Devor

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