Skolimowski on “IO”: Let my donkey speak to you from the screen. look into his eyes

“IO” refers to the movie “For Luck, Baltazar!” Robert Bresson, one of the classics of French cinema. The title character is a donkey (played by Taco, Holla, Marietta, Hettore, Rocco and Maya), who performs in a circus with a young performer named Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska). The girl takes good care of him and IO has unconditional love for her. Unfortunately, when the bailiffs enter the circus after the demonstrations of the opponents of the use of animals, the two have to part. The donkey ends up in a stable and later changes hands several times. One evening he receives an unexpected visit from Cassandra, who – in memory of his birthday – brings IO a carrot cake.

After a while, however, she leaves, hunted by Ziom (Tomasz Organek). The animal misses her and decides to look for her. He runs away from the farm, gets lost in the woods and is briefly taken away by a group of football fans. Later, the donkey is taken care of by a truck driver (Mateusz Kościukiewicz) and an Italian priest (Lorenzo Zurzolo), who take him to the estate of the Countess (Isabelle Huppert). Ewa Piaskowska is the co-writer and co-producer of the film. Michał Dymek is responsible for the photos (some by Michał Englert and Paweł Edelman), for music – Paweł Mykietyn, and for editing – Agnieszka Glińska. Gutek Film has become the distributor of the photo in Poland.

World Premiere of “IO” in Cannes

The world premiere of “IO” took place in Cannes on Thursday without the director’s participation. The red carpet featured Ewa Piaskowska, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Sandra Drzymalska and co-producer Jeremy Thomas, who brought Skolimowski’s photo with a donkey from the movie† During Friday’s press conference, it was explained that the director had had an accident, after which doctors advised him not to travel to the festival. During the meeting with journalists, a clip was played in which Skolimowski told exactly what had happened. I was too enthusiastic about Cannes for that. I’ve been sleeping two or three hours at night for the past few weeks. This physical handicap made me stumble on the street and hit my head against the sidewalk. An ambulance was called. They took me right away. I was in a hospital in Warsaw when “IO” is screened in Cannes – he named.


Jeremy Thomas, Ewa Piaskowska and Italian actor Lorenzo Zurzolo / PAP / EPA / CLEMENS BILAN


The creator also referred to what he wants to communicate to IO viewers. I think there is something in this cry: I am a living being, just like you. And like you, I have my desires. I also need love, care, tenderness, security. Why do you take me for granted? Why do you treat me like a thing? I would like this movie to reach people’s hearts and minds. Let my ass speak to you from the screen. Look into his eyes. I protest against factory breeding animals for meat. I also protest against breeding animals for fur – he said.

A film about the love for animals

Ewa Piaskowska, who attended the conference, emphasized that: the movie was made out of love for animalswho “cannot play, are always themselves”. We decided to create an environment that would encourage them to behave naturally, just the way Jerzy wanted. This was actually our main task. Of course we prepared them to be in different places (…). Before we started shooting, we talked a lot with the zookeepers, because they know very well what is and is not possible. They read the script carefully and in a few meetings explained to us what to do – she explained.

She added that “IO” was created during the pandemic. We were in Sicily, and I think the alienation we felt when we wrote the script was very similar to the alienation the donkey feels in this story. After the pandemic, we started to look at the world differently. She has really changed the way we perceive everything. Now we have another challenge. A war is raging in a country that borders Poland and the world is becoming less and less a safe place to live Piaskowska noted.

The winners of the main competition will be announced on Saturday 28 May during the ceremony at the Grand Theater Lumiere. They are selected by a jury consisting of: French actor Vincent Lindon (Chairman), British actress Rebecca Hall, Indian actress Deepika Padukone, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace and Italian actress and director Jasmine Trinca, as well as Iranian director, screenwriter and producer Asghar Farhadi, French director, screenwriter and actor Ladj Ly, American director and screenwriter Jeff Nichols and Norwegian director and screenwriter Joachim Trier.

From Cannes Daria Porycka

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