Photo Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

Review, by Richard Schwartz

"Caught In The Web" Inter(net)views, RealVideo:
Mili Avital as 28k RealVideo, 56k RealVideo, or 100k RealVideo.
Mickey Rooney as 28k RealVideo, 56k RealVideo, or 100k RealVideo.

"Caught In The Web" Inter(net)views, QuickTime:
"Not Just The Hype" with Mili Avital (2.7mb)
"Telling a Story" with Mili Avital (1.9mb)
"For the Art" with Mili Avital (1.9mb)
"Finding an Audience" with Mili Avital (1.5mb)
"A Love Story" with Mili Avital (1.9mb)
"Computer Novice" with Mili Avital (1.0mb)
"Hello Israel" with Mili Avital (1.1mb)
"The Business is Safe" with Mickey Rooney (1.6mb)
"Thrilled" with Mickey Rooney (1.0mb)
"Important Event" with Mickey Rooney (1.4mb)
"Making the Sale" with Mickey Rooney (1.3mb)
"For Bill Gates" with Mickey Rooney (2.5mb)

Michael DiJiacomo has created a unique melange of imagery, character, and fable in this imaginative saga of a man seeking his place in the world. Animals is part reality, part mythic invention as it spins out a narrative which begins with a wonderful prologue depicting a team of French ethnographers who are filming a true eccentric, a tuba-playing toll keeper in the Utah desert. But the focus of the story is a disillusioned and world-weary New York cabbie, Henry Berst (Tim Roth), who, after being robbed, picks up an out-of-town fare and hits the road. It happens that the fare is the three members of the film crew from the prologue, now fifty years later, who want to go to Maryland and meet their long-lost friend Herve.

Thus begins a bizarre journey. When Henry parts their company and falls in love with Fatima Chue, a mysterious southern woman who lives on a pig farm with her brother and mother, his real quest begins. It gets even more intricate, but you get the idea; this is not your run-of-the-mill melodrama.

What is really impossible to describe is the incredible imagery, atmosphere, and universe that Animals portrays. This is one of the most visually stunning independent films I have ever seen. DiJiacomo understands the power of cinema not just to relate stories but to transport you into ethereal and poetic worlds. With John Turturro, Mickey Rooney, and a distinctive performance by Roth, Animals is the kind of dadaist storytelling that represents what independence is all about.

- Geoffrey Gilmore

Directed by: Michael Di Jiacomo
Written by: Michael Di Jiacomo
Starring: Mili Avital, Martin Landau, Mickey Rooney, John Turturro, Tim Roth, Joanne Pankow
Produced by: Gabriella Tana, Rainer Mockert

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