“Welcome to heaven on earth” is one of the few spoken lines in filmmaking duo David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s latest documentary which puts donkey “actors” centerstage. The camerawork is simple and quietly observant, and the sound design is continuously immersive. No interviews or dialogue interrupt this unobtrusive approach. No explanations by title are given. The result is a meditative, hypnotic cinematic flow of donkey behaviour much of which remains indecipherable. Sanctuary deliberately recalls Robert Bresson’s 1966 testimonial to a stoic donkey, Au Hasard Balthazar. It is also inspired by David Abram’s 2011 book Becoming Animal, which argues that we have lost our ability to apprehend the sensuous natural world amidst our on-screen news obsessed virtual frenzy.
A Q&A with Ashley Sabin and David Redmon will follow the screening.