For the same reason “Woman in Gold” was an important film, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” revisits the horror that was Nazi Germany through the lens of a zoo in Warsaw during the five-year period starting in 1939.
In the words of one reviewer: “In the opening moments of “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” director Niki Caro introduces us to a paradise of every glorious form of creation — animals of every size and description — overseen by a team of benevolent human beings. This is a zoo, an idyllic zoo. And then the subtitle is flashed onto the screen, ‘Warsaw, 1939,’ and a feeling of dread settles in. Here is life, at its most splendid and miraculous. And here, on the other side, are the enemies of life.”
“The Zookeeper’s Wife” tells the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, beautifully played by Johan Heldenbergh and Jessica Chastain. The Zabinskis own and run the Warsaw Zoo and, after the German invasion, use it at great risk as a transit point and refuge for Jews escaping the Warsaw Ghetto. The film is beautifully made and the war scenes are shot with an eye to instilling fear and dread rather than pure destruction.
Dale and I thought this film was significantly better than did most professional critics. We were glued to the screen and kept talking about it through the night. Finally, we love City Cinemas on Third Avenue and 60th Street as we can reserve a comfortable seat.