War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe's Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life's work together with the city, will turn to ashes. However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals' zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina's formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans' noses.Written by
Director Niki Caro stated that her first film cut was nearly three and a half hours long, utilizing the entire screenplay. The final film was required to be two hours in length, and so an hour and a half was cut from the film in the editing room. See more »
When the.children are singing the 4 questions, they are using the modern Safardic pronunciation and tune rather than the Ashkenazi, used in eastern Europe. See more »
Dr. Janusz Korczak:
But what of the children, Dr. Zabinski? My heart is no different than yours, I don't believe. I should not be here. They should not be here. You should not be here.
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Of COURSE we should remember the holocaust and do everything we should to educate and impress on future generations what they must avoid. But this film is nowhere as near the quality or impact of Schindler's List or The Pianist.
So from what I've been able to read - the film is a fair summary of a true story. Warsaw Zoo bombed at the start of WWII, zoo converted to a pig farm, zoo director and his wife hide Jews who have escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto, war ends and (spoiler - so I won't go there).
Production values seem authentic. Story is sound. Doesn't jump off the screen and grab you by the throat. Still - worth a watch.
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