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Oscars 2023. Jerzy Skolimowski chose a special breed of donkey for the film. He told the audience: Look him in the eye

“IO” refers to the movie “Bless you, Balthazar!” Robert Bresson, who is considered a classic of French cinema. Skolimowski’s production is an allegorical story that brings the reality of animal life in the modern world closer. We see the world through the eyes of the title donkey, who travels a long way from the Polish circus to the Italian slaughterhouse. The only person the animal trusts is its trainer Kassandra, with whom he had to part at the beginning of the story.

The film gained international acclaim even before the Oscar nominations were announced. Jerzy Skolimowski’s production was honored with the jury award at the 75th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival. It was this distinction that opened the way for the film to fight for further successes.

The title “IO” had several performers

Before the premiere of the film in Cannes, the director of the film was absent from the press conference. There were, among others, Ewa Piaskowska, the producer of the film, who, together with the rest of the present creators and actors, brought a photo of Skolimowski with the donkey from the film. During the meeting with journalists, a recording was played in which Skolimowski told what had happened. It turned out that a few days before the ceremony he had an accident and the doctors advised him not to travel to France.

In the video clip, he also said what he wanted to convey to viewers in his film: “I would like this film to reach people’s hearts and minds. Let my donkey speak to you from the screen. Look into his eyes. I protest against factory farming of animals for meat. I protest also against fur farming.

Just over a week later, when the winners of the main competition were announced and “IO” together with the Italian production “Eight Summits” were honored with the jury’s award, Skolimowski appeared at the gala and revealed more details about the production of the film. He mentioned that “IO” is a Polish-Italian co-production. This is also reflected in the plot, but also in the main character. It turns out that the director specifically chose the Italian breed of eagle, whose facial expression best reflects the atmosphere of the film:

A large part of it was filmed in Poland, but I was smart enough to choose a certain Italian breed of donkey – a donkey from Sardinia that has a cross on its back

He also revealed that a total of six donkeys played the title character. Only two of them come from Poland – Taco and Holla, because only so many animals of this breed lived in our country. The other four are from Italy. They were: “(…) amazing Marietta, Hetore and two donkeys from the Lazio region, whose names are Rocco and Maya” – said Skolimowski in Cannes.

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Source: Gazeta

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