Director: Niki Caro.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl. USA 2016. 127 mins.
Kiwi director Niki Caro tells the astonishing true story of Antonina Żabiński (Chastain, The Help) and her husband Jan (Heldenbergh), whose Warsaw zoo became a hub for the Polish underground resistance during the Nazi occupation of their homeland. After much of it is destroyed during the German invasion in 1939, their once thriving animal sanctuary is left at the mercy of the Reich’s chief zoologist (Brühl, Rush). Risking execution if caught, the Żabińskis use what remains as a front for resistance plans to smuggle hundreds of Jews away from the Warsaw Ghetto to safety. By turns moving, riveting and extraordinary, The Zookeeper’s Wife is yet another triumph for Chastain following her recent Oscar nods, but the entire film is something of an ensemble piece with exceptional performances across the board.