Filmed as part of his Bestiaire project—a three video haiku dealing with animals and their environment—Chris Marker’s Zoo Piece is a remarkable and moving examination of animals in confinement. The easiest point of comparison is probably Denis Côté’s own Bestiaire (2012), a powerful film that takes the exact concept and stretches it to unnerving feature-length. Both works make a similar statement by simply observing—neither film uses narration as a guiding device, and that is ultimately a wise decision. Although short, Marker finds a real poignancy through these images, and the document becomes quietly overwhelming by the end.
For those interested (and who wouldn’t be?), here are the other two shorts from the project:
An Owl Is An Owl (1990)
Cat Listening To Music (1990)