Movies: Bambi and EO
by Rob English

Have you seen Bambi, the classic and beautiful award-winning animated feature from the Disney studios that was released to theaters eighty years ago? (Don’t say you haven’t had time!). The epic features an adorable fawn, Bambi, who comes of age in a lush forest setting among delightful friends such as a young rabbit named Thumper and a skunk named Flower. The little fawn and his friends explore among the trees and streams of their habitat overseen by Bambi’s warm, loving and protective mother. Like all Disney films the movie delivers beauty, laughter, danger, suspense, and a touch of cruelty.

Unlike Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1000 and One Dalmatians, or Cinderella, movies that featured cruel women, Bambi’s villain is a male hunter who – spoiler alert – murders Bambi’s loving mother early in the film. Oh, what a howl of outrage and horror welled up in the theater among the four-year-old’s, including me, all those years ago. Bambi survives, matures, finds a mate, and becomes “king of the forest.” Did I stay to the end of the show? I don’t remember. To us four-year-old’s the lasting memory is the part when the character they identified with loses his mommy to gun violence.

Well, a person can’t stay four forever; other movies and life experience make us less sensitive and more emotionally durable, while popular books and movies like Call of the Wild, White Fang, Babe, Water for Elephants, and Old Yeller help keep the lives and deaths of animals in the background of our thinking.

Now we have a new movie offering in the beloved animal genre, EO, a sweet donkey named for the sound he makes when he brays. Not a Disney movie, nor animated, but as a composite of six different real, live donkey actors, EO begins as a circus star in love with his human female trainer. He loses his gig at the circus, and travels across countryside settings in Poland and Italy, where in various stages he meets the kind people we want to see and the cruel people that provide creative contrast.

EO was a big hit at the Cannes Film Festival for director Jerzy Skolimowski; I look forward to seeing it. When bad things happen in it, I’ll contain my outrage, unlike when I cried for Bambi at age four.

I include a screenshot of Bambi and a note about Bambi’s photo – “This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1927 and 1963, and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.” –

Rob English is a member of People for Animal Rights, a grassroots organization in Central New York,

Contact People for Animal Rights
P.O. Box 3333
Syracuse, NY 13220
(315) 708-4520

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