Film of the Day – The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife

As part of a memorial day dedicated to the Holocaust, Sky Cinema are broadcasting both The Zookeeper’s Wife and Schindler’s lists – both fantastic spectacles in their own rights but made that much more profound and moving given the fact that the horrific events they were based off of actually happened in reality. The former of the two films, The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on true events, tells the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski – the husband and wife zookeepers from Warsaw who used the world renowned zoo to harbour and shepherd survivors of Nazi persecution out of the city for safety. The film stars Jessica Chastain as Antonina and Johan Heldenbergh as her husband Jan, while also featuring Daniel Brühl and Michael McElhatton amongst the cast.

Set during the Nazi occupation of Poland – in particular its capital, Warsaw – The Zookeeper’s wife picks up in the weeks preceding the initial invasion of the country. The Zabinski’s own a renowned zoo in the middle of the Polish capital which is flourishing even after Nazi chief-zoologist Lutz Heck (Brühl) visits – an icy affair which Jan deals with professionally. Following the initial invasion of Poland and the subsequent establishment of the renowned Warsaw ghetto, the Zabinski’s decide to help the downtrodden under the guise of operating a pig farm to feed the legions of German troops occupying the city. Under the watchful eyes of Heck, the Zabinski’s enter into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the Nazi-forces, knowing full well that offering as little as a glass of water to a Jewish person would be punishable by death.


The Zookeeper’s Wife – Thursday 8:00pm on Sky Cinema (Drama).