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The Zookeeper's Wife (2017)

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The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

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Magda Gross
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Maurycy Fraenkel
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Urszula
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Jerzyk
Val Maloku ...
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Regina Kenigswein
Daniel Ratimorský ...
Samuel Kenigswein
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Miecio Kenigswein
Theo Preston ...
Stanislav Kenigswein
Viktoria Zakharyanova ...
Stefania Keningswein
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Mr. Kinszerbaum
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The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

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They gave all they had to save all they could


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Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking | See all certifications »

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31 March 2017 (USA)  »

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Azyl  »

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2.35 : 1
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Diane Ackerman's non-fiction book was greatly inspired by the unpublished diary of Antonina Zabinska and Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland. See more »

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A welcome addition to Holocaust cinema.
28 March 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The risk of the Holocaust is not that it will be forgotten, but that it will be embalmed and surrounded by monuments and used to absolve all future sins." Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman

With no end to the sad stories of the Holocaust, now The Zookeeper's Wife adds another drama out of Warsaw in the early 1940's as the Nazis begin to move Jews into its ghetto and eventually to concentration camps. The truth-based tale is another worthy entry in Holocaust cinema, along with Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008).

No matter the similarities with Schindler's List (1993) and Inglourious Basterds (2009), this drama is just as nail biting and terrible as the best of them. Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) watches over The Warsaw Zoo with her doctor husband, Jan (Johan Heldenbergh). Eventually the Nazi command, personified by randy zoologist Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), takes over. Antonina's empathy for the animals is an antidote to Nazi indifference. I dare you not to be moved by the lyrical opening as she rides her bicycle through the zoo in early morning calling endearingly to the animals or her rescuing a suffocating baby elephant.

Meanwhile, after being mercilessly bombed, the remnants of the zoo serve as hideaway and eventual transport for hundreds of Jews. Director Niki Caro does an effective job creating tension by cutting between daily activity on the street and the hidden Jews. The concentration on Antonia's face allows for multiple dramatic notes as she navigates between her animals and Jewish charges.

In fact, another graceful artistic direction is not overdoing the built- in figurative comparison between those hiding and those innocent animals, which are always in the open and vulnerable. A sweet, poetic circumstance usually contrasts with the unimaginable horror. The animals serve as a subtle reminder of lost innocence: "You look in their eyes," and you know exactly what is in their hearts." Antonina

The Zookeeper's Wife is a first-rate entry in the chronicles of The Holocaust and a powerful reason to continue to tell the story lest it happen again.


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