I had heard about Zoo (2007, **3/4) when it premiered at Sundance this year. I love to watch this kind of controversial stuff just to see if it's worthy of all the whinging people tend to do when they see something that offends them. The following is a rather stream-of-consciousness message I sent to a friend after watching this new documentary. I didn't feel like taking the time to organize it into something that actually sounds somewhat nice...
Zoo is neither graphic nor exploitative in the discussion of zoophilia/bestiality. There are no talking heads, just voiceover from different people including other zoophiles who knew the guy that was killed and were in the same group of zoophiles that would get together at a guy's ranch near Seattle.
All the images are a dramatic restaging of events surrounding and during the incident when the man was killed (they don't show the man "with" the horse though, of course). The subject matter is less than appealing BUT the film is shot beautifully and the music is stunning! Some of images are just ... wow. The filmmakers really paid attention to making this accessible to people.
The main point of the film is not to get people to think that zoophillia is perfectly normal, but just to get in the minds of zoophiles to discover why they do what they do. The main idea that came across from the zoophiles themselves was that they just have a love of animals more than most people. It never takes into account that some of these men are just perverts, but tell us that every zoophile feels an emotional connection to animals like "you would your spouse or child."
This logic is faulty ... you don't have sex with your children! Perhaps that may be the next controversial documentary.
There's an interesting point in the movie. When all these men got together for "retreats", it’s not just about participating in questionable activity with animals. They talk and have a good time like most groups of men do when they get together. They would watch sci-fi movies in their spare time. The director says in the commentary that,"30 years ago people would say that we couldn't get a man on the moon. The imagination would have to go places to consider such an outrageous thought. I think that "zoos" who are doing something that is on the very edge of being able to understand is a great mirror to this."
Totally faulty logic again. The reason they love animals so much is much of the reason that some people are gay: lack of meaningful human contact because of sin let into the world by the Fall.
It's as simple as that. It'd be nice to enable them to understand that.
I highly recommend watching it. It's SO technically well done and I'd love to see more docs done in this style. It's just ideologically incomplete.