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Film Review: Spoor (Pokot)
by Rose Finlay

Agnieszka Holland, Poland

The animals are angry. Over the past several months, hunters in the small Polish town have been ending up dead, often with suspicious animal prints nearby. Local schoolteacher and animal lover Duszejko believes it to be the work of the animals she has been trying to protect. But have the local animals been fighting back against the tyrannical humans or is there something more sinister at hand?

Duszejko is something of the town eccentric. While her students love her, the men of the town are far more derisive. Duszejko herself does not hide her dislike for the hunters either, particularly after her two beloved dogs go missing one day. As the film proceeds, she begins to act more and more erratically, arguing with exasperated police officers about how they should be going after hunters who kill animals out of season. Meanwhile she just keeps on accidentally stumbling over the dead bodies of the very men she hates most. As she investigates these murders, she comes to, what she believes, is the obvious conclusion: it must be the animals.

At times humorous, but overall just exceedingly bizarre, Spoor doesn’t seem to know what direction it wants to go in. At times, it seems like the director wishes the viewer to agree with what Duszejko is saying and at other times the same lines will be played in a near manic way that completely undermines any sort of point. Sometimes the film feels almost like it is floating in a sort of magical realistic world where animals can be vengeful murderers, but then it switches around to be more realistic. What results is a film that twists the viewer’s feelings up, but not in a particularly logical or enlightening way. And so by the end of the film, one begins to wonder if there was actually a moral point to all of this, or if it is just some Eco terrorist’s fever dream.