The Ghosts in Our Machine

(Canada, 2013, 93 mins, DCP)
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Are animals sentient beings, or are they property? Some we deem more sentient than others; and for many, well, it’s much easier not to think about what humans perpetrate on other species. Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur has made it her life’s work to challenge the widespread willful ignorance that allows animal abuse to carry on unchecked. For more than a decade Jo-Anne has travelled the world, putting herself at risk to document animals held in captivity to supply our food, clothing, scientific research, or simply our entertainment. Her photos are sometimes heartbreaking to see, but also often unexpectedly beautiful, always soulful, and inspiring.

The same could be said of Liz Marshall’s film, which gives a sense of the horrors humans inflict on animals, but also the immense spiritual bond which many of us feel for other living beings. Marshall (Water on the Table) and her collaborators have conjured hauntingly lovely images and sounds to make this something much more than agit-prop.

"A superb example of committed fimmaking." 4 stars. Susan Cole, Now magazine