A hostage situation in Ukraine came to a non-violent end on Tuesday after the country’s president publicly endorsed a Joaquin Phoenix film.
An armed man, identified as Maksim Krivosh, held 13 people captive “with an automatic weapon and explosives,” according to the New York Times, and refused to let them go until “Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, urged Ukrainians to watch” the 2005 documentary Earthlings, narrated by the Oscar winner. Here’s the plot synopsis: “Earthlings is about humanity’s use of other animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research… Covering pet stores, puppy mills, and animal profession, Earthlings includes footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras to chronicle the day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely on animals. It draws parallels between racism, sexism, and speciesism.”
“Everybody watch the 2005 film Earthlings, Mr. Zelensky said in a terse statement posted on Facebook.
Mr. Zelensky’s endorsement of Earthlings could be seen as complying with a terrorist’s demand. But it also fit into what his office said was a negotiating strategy of trying, above all else, to avoid angering a heavily armed man with hostages.
He deleted the post endorsing the film.
If you go to Zelensky’s Letterboxd, however, you’ll see that he gave The Master, arguably featuring Phoenix’s finest performance, only three stars. Very troubling. Krivosh surrendered to authorities following the release of his hostages.
(Via the New York Times)