The Big Animal (2004) (Polish)

This is a  bittersweet fable about a simple Polish couple who take in a lost camel. They are enchanted by it. They feed it and care for it even though they can’t really afford it and don’t have a proper barn to keep it in. As word gets out in the town, first the couple is teased, then when it becomes clear they intend to keep the camel, the town gets bent out of shape– the camel should be exploited somehow– be put to work, be taxed. Why should the couple be allowed to have a camel when others don’t? 
Okay, I’ll be honest… if someone tells me that I have to see a sad movie, I’m not likely to do it. So why would I suggest this? 1) It’s got a wistful ending, but not a super sad ending. {Spoiler alert: the camel does not die at the end.}  2) It’s got a beautiful moodiness to it…as when the husband takes the animal for a walk and talks to it 3) It has a message about life, gifts, how one handles the unexpected. The humanity of the couple taking in the camel when they can’t really afford it but can’t let it go hungry  vs.  the disgruntled town people who just can’t stand that they have something different.
It may make you do a little soul searching… 
My favorite scene is so simple… the camel has its head stuck in the window and the wife is brushing it… the hair on the camel just fluffs with the brush… its a beautiful moment of serenity where doing something rather ordinary (assuming that one has a pet camel) is extraordinary. 
There is a soft-focus feel to this film, reminiscent of Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bete… dreamy…gentle… pastoral and beautiful. 
You may find yourself wanting to go visit a camel… 

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