Taglines: They gave all they had to save all they could.
War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe’s Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life’s work together with the city, will turn to ashes.
However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals’ zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina’s formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans’ noses.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a 2017 war drama film directed by Niki Caro, written by Angela Workman and based on Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book of the same name. The film tells the true story of how Jan and Antonina Żabiński rescued hundreds of Jews from the Germans by hiding them in their Warsaw zoo during World War II.[Note 1] It stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl.
The film had its world premiere on March 8, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland, the location of the story, followed by its US premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California, on March 12, 2017. The film was released in the United States on March 31, 2017, by Focus Features, and by Universal Pictures International in the United Kingdom on April 21, 2017. It received mixed reviews from critics but a positive response from audiences, and has grossed over $23 million worldwide.
The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)
Directed by: Niki Caro
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Johan Heldenbergh, Shira Haas, Efrat Dor, Iddo Goldberg, Marian Mitas, Frederick Preston
Screenplay by: Angela Workman
Production Design by: Suzie Davies
Cinematography by: Andrij Parekh
Film Editing by: David Coulson
Costume Design by: Bina Daigeler
Set Decoration by: Charlotte Watts
Art Direction by: Jan Kalous, Dan Taylor, Magdalena Zemanova
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: March 31, 2017