Review: Do Donkeys Act?

The Joy of Movies

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Filmed over five years at four different donkey sanctuaries in the UK, Ireland, New York State and Guelph, Ontario, Do Donkeys Act? is an experimental art documentary that offers a quiet yet often profound exploration of animal sentience, guided along by Willem Dafoe’s poetic narration.

These sanctuaries provide refuge for donkeys that have been abused or abandoned, and Do Donkeys Act? takes us into their world.  The patient and observant footage that has been captured by filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin helps us to view them with both compassion and emotional clarity, while allowing us to contemplate the human-animal bond.

We see the interactions that the donkeys have with each other as they eat, sleep and roam around, communicating through a language of whinnies and brays that carry their own complex set of rhythms and mannerisms, despite being unintelligible to us.  The humans that…

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