Un Animal, des animaux

Year: 1995
Country: France
Running time: 57 mins

Producer: Serge Lalou
Screenplay: Nicolas Philibert
Photography: Frédéric Labourasse
Editor: Guy Lecorne

Film Festival: San Francisco, 1995
For over 30 years the Zoology Hall of the Museum of Natural History in Paris was closed to the public, while thousands of stuffed animals - mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles, insects, crustaceans - were abandoned inside. Animals wittily documents the Hall's renovation. Nicolas Philibert (In the Land of the Deaf) records the three years of the intense, detail-driven preparation to bring the various inhabitants back to life.
Philibert subtly delights in the dedication of the zoologists as they go about their tasks. They are as passionate about what they do as any artists. Meanwhile, the animals take on an odd symbolic life of their own, their vacant over-stuffed faces providing a wry commentary on the various processes that revolve around them. Animals is an incisive testimony of the human desire, or compulsion, to preserve and document. Beware: a trip to the local natural history museum may never be quite the same. — Lisane Skyler, San Francisco Film Festival