What happens when we’re a little different? What happens if the very thing that makes us different, is also the thing that scares people away?
When Russian writer and director Ivan I. Tverdovskiy (Corrections Class) said he had a tale to tell, I think maybe he was misunderstood.
Zoology is the tail (see what I did there?) of Natasha, Natalya Pavlenkova (Corrections Class, Winter Journey). She’s a middle-aged zoo worker, living at home with her mom, nothing particularly special about her life.
She’s bullied at work by her co-workers who play practical jokes on her and call her names, not so subtly.
That all changes when she begins to grow a tail. That’s right, a tail. Not a small, easily hidden tail. A great big, down to her calf’s, tail. Which she manages to hide, for the most part.
Natasha repeatedly goes to the hospital to try and see what is wrong with her but every x-ray comes back blurry and useless.
Because of these trips, she meets a man in the x-ray department and they begin dating, she changes her appearance and generally starts to feel better about herself. She also loses her job.
Meanwhile, rumours begin to spread around town that there is a devil in the area, one who has a tail. People are disappearing, she has three tails, and other such fabrications begin to circulate.
Does her x-ray prince charming really love her? What will her very religious mother think if she finds out about the tail? Will the doctors ever get to the bottom of it (pun intended).
Zoology is a strange film, I think the subject matter should give you a clue about that. Having said that, there’s a certain charm to it, to seeing Natasha go through this journey in her life, wondering where it will go.
It is darkly funny at times but, for the most part, Tverdovskiy keeps things sensible. It’s well directed though, despite being just 1.5 hours, certain scenes can feel drawn out.
Most of the women in Zoology are, how can I put this, on the plus size in the dress department. I’m unsure as to exactly why this is, I don’t even know if it’s relevant.
It nagged at me throughout, as if it was something I was supposed to be ‘getting’, some link I wasn’t seeing. It may be nothing, maybe you’ll have better luck.
The twist in the tail (come on, that was a good one), towards the end with the x-ray man, Dmitriy Groshev (Look At Fading Light), is very funny and reminds of some of the weird, twisted things I used to hear about from female friends who’ve used Tinder.
Tverdovskiy’s choice of ending is also good, a tad obvious, but the cut is wonderful. It may rub some people up the wrong way but I liked it. It felt right, a good ending.
Zoology is one of those films that will divide people. Some will love its charm, its simplicity, the dark touches of humour, the bath scene. Others will just wonder where it’s all going.
22nd September 2017
Ivan I. Tverdovskiy
Ivan I. Tverdovskiy
THE QUICK SELL
What happens when we're a little different? What happens if the very thing that makes us different, is also the thing that scares people away?