This Deluxe-Edition DVD contains the entire 60-minute Michael Beckwith PBS broadcast, plus is packed with tons of bonus features including a 1-hour concert featuring Siedah Garrett, Rickie Byars Beckwith, Niki Haris, Will.I.Am (of Black Eyed Peas) and the Agape International Choir.
A documentarian known for his insolent and inciting penchant for exposing the bourgeois prejudice of the Viennese middle classes, Ulrich Seidl does so by putting the mundane and inhibited regimentation of their lives on display. Stating quite simply that the subject of all his films is the notion that "hell is us," Seidl's work manages to reflect the ways that individuals manage to cope with life through self-delusion in a way that is often surreal, sometimes tragic, and always provocative. In this 1995 documentary, the filmmaker delves into the lives of pet owners whose love for their animals replaces--or displaces--their need for human affection, intimacy, and warmth. Filming in a characteristically painterly manner that deviates considerably from the familiar tropes of documentary filmmaking, which is traditionally marked by a shaky camera, Ulrich trains the camera on his subjects in a way that gives rise to a Brechtian critical distance. Thus breaking down the boundaries between documentary and fiction film, he is able to create considerable unease in his audiences, augmented by the often grotesque nature of his images and the dark, at times darkly humorous, quality of his subject matter. These are the qualities that render him one of the most notorious and groundbreaking filmmakers of his generation. The critically lauded ANIMAL LOVE was the winner of the Best Documentary Awards at the Potsdam Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.