This film evokes a safe haven for abandoned and abused donkeys; animals have the lead roles, humans are only extras. The camera seeks to establish direct contact with the animals in an interplay of trust, curiosity, and vulnerability. Empathy as a prerogative, also for the viewer.
For those who enjoyed Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar, this project takes it a step further. Here, the camera’s eye-level is that of the donkey, not man. This concept, initially the subject of two shorts (Choreography and Herd, both 2014), has now been elaborated further by the artist duo Redmon and Sabin into a feature-length observation of four donkey sanctuaries across the UK, Ireland, Canada and the US. Since its inception, the Donkey Sanctuary has saved over 19,000 donkeys. The artists structure their material as an inspirational example illustrating the ideas of David Abram as expressed in his 2011 book Becoming Animal. Abram questions why mankind, a curious, inventive species, went from worshiping nature to destroying it, and how this is further accelerated by our sensuous detachment from the living world, as we funnel our attention to the cyber realm.
Yet another version of the film (Do Donkeys Act?) is forthcoming, this time with a voice-over by Willem Dafoe.