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Bestiaire (2012)

tomatometer

78

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

46

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 185

My Rating

Movie Info

Curious, compelling and compassionate, Denis Côté's contemplative portrait of animals in captivity is, put simply, a series of beautifully framed and composed tableaux of a variety of animals at Quebec's Parc Safari; but it's also a complex meditation on the relationship between man, beast and environment. Côté lets his often startling imagery speak for itself, giving us, the viewer, plenty time, and food, for thought.

$1.4k

Zeitgeist Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3)

Whether one is an animal lover or not, the chance to in essence sit with these animals as if up close and in their pens is remarkable and engaging.

February 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The images are meant to accumulate shame, and they do. But they also might be too much.

January 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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The question the camera seems to ask is: What are animals to us and what are we to them?

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Look closely at how Côté approaches those metal bars - you're never quite sure what will pop into view and who the real prisoners are.

December 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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Mr. Côté ... forces you to look at the often unseen. It may not be pretty, but it is essential viewing.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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For the most part, it shows exactly what it shows, so that when even the simplest cinematic mediation insinuates itself, it feels a bit like poetry - or conceptual magic.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
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I am equally fascinated and unnerved by the experience, which is why I will surely return again.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A meditative movie that turns into a call for compassion for all the animals exploited for entertainment in zoos, safari parks, and circuses.

April 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Minimalism, but without the aesthetic

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Because most people are used to films that tell stories or make arguments, the natural response is to impose meaning on the images in Bestiaire, a response that reduces their immediateness and reality.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Although there is no narration or manipulative music track, Denis Côté's long-take documentary look at Parc Safari in Hemmingford, Quebec, screams out (quietly) on the side of animal rights.

January 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The film is at turns mundane, poetic, disturbing and comical...invites all kinds of reactions, from our urge to anthromorphize animals to a desire to truly understand them.

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Bestiaire isn't for everyone. It demands a patient audience willing to fill in the gaps between Côté's striking compositions and telling montage.

December 20, 2012 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Bestiaire accommodates multiple readings, allowing its audience to project theories about spectatorship and captivity onto its silent beasts of burden.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

Bestiaire argues persuasively without words, making a case without explicating one at all.

October 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

These beasts live a compromised life and Bestiaire raises questions as to whether mankind's best intentions justify the sacrifices they have unwittingly made.

August 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Screen-Space
Screen-Space

This is a challenging and rewarding piece that reflects your own thoughts as much as those of the filmmaker.

June 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Bestiaire

Bestiaire is not a traditional movie in the sense that there is a logical start, middle and ending although the changes in the seasons acts like one in a way. Here we have Parc Safari, a favourite place for me as a child and what we are doing is observing the animals. While they are aware of the camera, they are not obsessed with it like a person might be. So we get to see them "raw" and acting in all sorts of manners to the enclosures that they are put in throughout the year.
December 6, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Bestiaire (DE)
  • Bestiaire (UK)
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