The Zookeeper's Wife In Theaters March 31st.
The Zookeeper's Wife is a haunting story of one womans determination to do right in this world. With the help of her husband and son they were able to free over 300 Jewish men, women and children. It had me thinking would I have done the same thing, risking the life of my child, my husband, my loved ones for complete strangers. Yes, I would, the only caveat would be that I would have sent my child out of the country to stay with family. Antonina was given the option of leaving the country before and she choose to stay. I have so much respect for her, the courage she portrayed, the mental strength, her tenacity, she had chutzpah! I loved this movie, what I took away from The Zookeeper’s Wife; I can do anything, the strength lies within me, it’s up to me to harness that power and use it to it’s fullest capacity. Read that sentence again, it's extremely powerful once you understand what you are capable of. One person can make a difference for better or worse, it is up to you to choose the right path.
We were given the opportunity to view the movie a few weeks ago and afterwards a phone interview with Jessica Chastain to talk about The Zookeeper's Wife. I had a million questions regarding her thoughts about Antonina and her determination, her dauntless act of hiding, protecting and saving lives. However I chose to ask about all the glorious animals that she worked with, from the elephants, lion cubs, Llama, monkeys, etc. It was a site to see, Jessica had a connection with each animal. It shines on the big screen, her comfort and love for the animals. For some it would have been daunting but Jessica took the time to build a rapport with each animal. Her chemistry with the animals was a thing of beauty.
~ Kathy: Thank you so much for representing such a strong and resilient woman on the big screen, with everything that’s going on in the world, we really need that. So, I want to say thank you for doing such a superb job, you were absolutely outstanding.
~ Jessica : Thank you so much, well if there wasn’t women like Antonia there would be nothing to represent so I have so much admiration for her.
~ Kathy: Regarding the animals, was there one that you were kind of a little shy of?
~ Jessica : No, I liked all the animals. Even the skunk, I and some people like the
little boy who was nervous about the skunk because of the very pungent smell. But, I swear I was kissing all over that skunk and cuddling you know, in the scene. There wasn’t one animal I felt afraid of.
Plot ~ In the 1930s, Jan Żabiński was the director of the thriving zoo in Warsaw, Poland; his wife Antonina had a remarkable sympathy for animals, and their villa in the zoo was a nursery and residence for numerous animals as well as their own son. This life came to an abrupt end with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, which started World War II (1939-1945). Most of the zoo's animals and structures were destroyed in the bombings and siege of the city. The zoo was closed under German occupation, but the Żabińskis continued to occupy the villa, and the zoo itself was used first as a pig farm and subsequently as a fur farm.Jan and Antonina Żabiński became active with the Polish underground resistance. At the villa and in the zoo's structures, they secretly sheltered Jews, most escaping from the doomed Warsaw ghetto. As many as 300 such "guests" passed through the zoo, and many did survive the war with the assistance of the Żabińskis and other members of the underground. The German occupiers executed those they discovered helping Jews. Nonetheless, Antonina Żabińska maintained a semblance of prewar life at the villa, harboring a menagerie of animals - otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes - as well as the secret guests. While Jan Żabiński was wounded in the armed, August 1944 Warsaw uprising against the German occupiers, the Żabińskis survived the war. The zoo reopened in 1949, with Jan as its new director.