The often used expression, the biggest animal is man, accurately reflects the content of Amiran Dolidze's film, "The Animal" (2019). But a title - "Man as an Animal" would be more appropriate for the movie.

The director carefully observes the main character, whose name we do not learn throughout the film. The latter is ready to use forbidden means to achieve the final goal. How can a human being degrade to this level, he is not an animal, he is a superior being who has a mind, but it seems that sometimes he falls into an abyss and descends to the level of an animal. During the course of the film, we observe how the environment affects the main character. The ambiguity of his name suggests to the audience that many members of society are united under this character.

The film tells the story of a young unemployed man who finds it difficult to maintain dignity and order in the background of a difficult economic problem. Although the film is short, it is quite difficult to watch. The story unfolds at a slow pace, it's actually half an hour long, but it feels like two hours of action. There are no exciting episodes in it, even the final is devoid of any emotion. Showing a few seconds of empty spaces before the narrative moves from one episode to another makes the movie even more boring. The topic raised in it is very interesting, but it still fails to evoke the emotions that its display should have caused in the audience. Neither music nor any artistic techniques are used here, which would make this work more intriguing. The script is quite strong, which could claim to be a full-length work, because in a 30-minute story it is difficult to fully develop the character of the heroes, which is why the film leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction, as if the director had a lot more to say and show

All the inner states of a person are revealed in the main character from humanity to animal instinct. When they tell him about ironing someone and mark this fact as heroism, there is a protest, whether this is a heroic deed. Added to this is the shame of not having 50 lari to go to the classmates’s reunion and the terrible decision he makes in the final.

All characters can be assigned to different categories of society. Each of them is an image of certain groups that set rules and create laws that, if you don't break them, will turn you into an animal, acting without any rules.

When we stop fighting for each other, we will lose what makes us human. This is exactly what happens with brothers. One brother escaped from reality in a foreign country, where he is no better off economically than in his homeland, although he escaped the obligation of mutual aid. His words - "I'm doing everything to bring you here" seem fake, which the hero of the film realizes and that's why he doesn't try to go with him. The other brother has such heavy life that he can no longer think about his brother, what’s more about himself. They are so alienated from each other that it is difficult to imagine them as one family.

Humanity is mainly manifested in action. The clearest manifestation of this is help, as an example of which the director cites the character of his father. He feels his son's desperate situation, although he is so helpless that he cannot help enough and will give the last 20 lari left from his pension, which the main character loses at cards. The father, on the one hand, tries to help his son in need and, on the other hand, constantly humiliates the other son’s wife.

It is good when the family is built on mutual understanding, mutual love and respect. Then it is as strong as a fortress. And if all this is not there, sooner or later it will fall apart. The family presented in the film is an example of this.

Everyone needs love, understanding, warmth and care. It doesn't matter who he is. Even plants respond to friendly words and attitudes.

Humanity is inherent in all people, but not everyone wants to develop it in themselves, as it happens in the case of the main character. This is what makes man different from animals, he can think and this gives him the freedom to choose between good and bad. He can be responsible for his actions, draw conclusions. Behaving humanly means remaining human in any difficult situation, making the right decision, which you are not ashamed of. Everyone lives the way they want and pays their own fees.

The main character is so organic in his role that he becomes a sharer of his fate and tries to deal with the obstacles he faces together with him. The rest of the guys on the street seem like the poles they're leaning on and their only concern is getting drugs. They have already crossed the threshold of the animal. A very important episode is when the main character looks over the other three from the balcony in such a way that his superiority over them is obvious, although neither his friends on the street, nor his classmates, or his family members understand him. He cannot find a place where everyone wants something from him.

An interesting detail and the most vivid point is the close-up display of ants, cockroaches and worms. With these scenes, the film is divided into three logical parts.

The contrast of ants, helping each other and not leaving each other in need, is the brothers’ relationship. None of the brothers have the desire to stand by each other.

The upside down cockroach fights until it straightens up and survives. The main character tries to survive in a merciless world without any rules slowly losing his humanity. It's interesting to see where the line between human and animal instinct is.

To satisfy his own desires the main character digs a grave and steals gold jewelry from the deceased, now he is already lower than an animal. It can be said unequivocally that he is not really a role model.

The entwined worms try to break free, but, like the main character, they fail and become more and more entangled in each other.

One of the characters is an animal, a wolf, which appears twice, for a couple of seconds, at the beginning and at the end of the film. As the main character's friend says, this animal can identify sinners, whom it even eats at night. In the final scene, the main character, who comes late at night with loot from the cemetery, is attacked by this animal. Some people do not understand the essence of life but when you stand between life and death, you realize how important your own life is to you.

The main message of the film is this - be humane and, no matter what happens, do not forget that you are human.


Teona Vekua,
film critic

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