War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe's Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life's work together with the city, will turn to ashes. However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals' zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina's formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans' noses. Written by
This is the second film in which Jessica performs a character playing the piano. The first was Crimson Peak directed by Guillermo Del Toro. In Mama however she had to be taught how to play the guitar for the needs of the horror film. See more »
Several scenes inside the Warsaw zoo show palm trees. At 52 degrees plus north latitude (a bit farther north than Calgary Alberta Canada) Warsaw Poland is way too far north to have palm trees. Therefore the zoo scenes were obviously shot at a more southerly location. See more »
You can never tell who your enemies are, or who to trust. Maybe that's why I love animals so much. You look in their eyes, and you know exactly what's in their hearts. They're not like people.
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The best part about having animals as your co-workers is that you can pet them during meetings.
Unfortunately, the only engagements in this drama are with Nazis.
Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) is a predominate zoologist who maintains a menagerie in Warsaw with his wife Antonina (Jessica Chastain). When Hitler wants to resurrect extinct animals with help from his own zoologist, Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), the couple is obligated to open their zoo to the bizarre experiments.
Unbeknownst to herr doctor, however, the Żabińskis are harbouring Jewish families within the walls of the park.
While this true story of wartime charity is intriguing, this artistic adaptation of the bestseller doesn't deliver the emotional gut-punch expected from a Holocaust movie. Sluggish, with a stereotypical SS villain and a fictitious love triangle, admission to this exhibit is regrettable.
Incidentally, a delicatessen enclosure is a dead giveaway you're harbouring Jews in your zoo.
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