Robinson Devor‘s Zoo (ThinkFilm, 4.25) deserves a certain respect, although many viewers will find themselves contending with suppressed laughter and/or disgust. Even its detractors will admit it’s a curiously haunting, beautifully photographed thing. (And exquisitely cut and scored.) I acknowledged this in a piece that I ran on 4.3.07 . I also said “there’s something profoundly troubling about a talented filmmaker giving his earnest and thoughtful attention to a ridiculously perverse (the term I’m most comfortable with is ‘diseased’) sexual practice.”

One of the funniest passages I’ve read about this film is contained in Manohla Dargis‘s 4.25 N.Y. Times review, to wit: “Zoo is…about the rhetorical uses of beauty and metaphor and of certain filmmaking techniques like slow-motion photography. It is, rather more coyly, also about a man who died from a perforated colon after he arranged to have sex with a stallion. Mercifully, you don’t see this death on camera, though if you sit close enough to the screen, you will see a few fairly brief images of one sexual event, accompanied by graphic sounds.

“It isn’t pretty, which is why the images appear only on a small television monitor. Art-house devotees may be a tolerant lot, but it’s doubtful they want to look at a stallion’s erect penis stretched across the big screen like a sailboat boom, at least in public. Certainly such an image would work directly counter to the self-conscious poeticism of Devor’s film, to its carefully confected narrative of misunderstood barnyard love and baleful testimonial. It is, after all, difficult to sing of the bodies electric and equine amid a chorus of ‘yucks.'”

A sailboat boom,,,hilarious! Interested parties should click on the Zoo slide show that appears next to Dargis’s review. Devor provides the narration.