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. <i>Animals</i> 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 Hervé.
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 <i>Animals</i> 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, <i>Animals</i> is the kind of dadaist storytelling that represents what independence is all about.
Michael DiJiacomo, Director
Michael DiJiacomo attended New York University’s Graduate School of Filmmaking, where his short film <i>Heaven</i> won the W.T.C. Johnson Fellowship. His short film <i>The Lost Treasure . . </i>. won several awards, including the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Student Oscar. He was a directing fellow at the Sundance Filmmakers Lab and has written several screenplays, including <i>Prince Jack</i>, with Spike Lee producing and John Turturro directing, and <i>The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa</i> for Phoenix Pictures.