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by Romuald Karmakar


On the grounds of Zurich Zoo, workers are transforming the brown earth into a savannah landscape, with concrete baobabs to serve as a feeding system and storage space. A “scenography of the wilderness” is being created here, as art historian Christina Katharina May terms this animal pen designed with an eye for detail, a combination of pared-down architecture and an almost natural appearance – a central component of the zoo’s efforts to make itself invisible. Across the seasons, Romuald Karmakar’s film gives an account of life and work at one of Europe’s leading zoological gardens. The effort that precedes the illusion of invisibility is shown, as is the logistical apparatus that keeps the whole enterprise running. The animals are also shown, which serve as an attraction. By revealing a complex network of economical and ethical questions that shape the zoo, precisely what usually remains invisible, this three-hour film expands what is shown into a reflection on the relationship between humans and animals: a mirroring and a “momentary imaginary relationship” (Sabine Nessel). The portrait of an institution – of modernity, of the present.

international title: The Invisible Zoo
original title: Der unsichtbare Zoo
country: Germany
year: 2024
genre: fiction
directed by: Romuald Karmakar
film run: 178'
screenplay: Romuald Karmakar
cinematography by: Frank Griebe, Ian Oggenfuss, Romuald Karmakar
film editing: Romuald Karmakar, Karin Nowarra
producer: Romuald Karmakar
co-producer: Andro Steinborn
production: Pantera Film, Arden Film, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg - RBB, BR Bayerischer Rundfunk, NDR - Norddeutscher Rundfunk, SWR – Südwestrundfunk

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