“Leaving is always the hardest thing. Leaving is the reason I am haunted.” – Jo-Anne McArthur
The Ghosts in Our Machine – Movie Review A film by Liz Marshall
You have seen Jo-Anne McArthur’s classic photographs without having known her name. Fur farms. Puppy mills. Slaughterhouses. Experimental research labs. Animal sanctuaries.
Her pictures always record the spirit and beauty of the animal. Her photos rarely record the actual horrors. In her words:
“I photograph the predicaments that animals are in.”
She does not rescue animals, although she is tempted to. She records their lives as they are used by men. She captures their eyes for people to see what we do to them.
We see Jo-Anne prepare for a pre-dawn raid of a mink farm where 100,000 anim als are kept captive. Our adrenal glands pump epinephrine along with hers as she works quickly, snapping photographs, recording footage for this movie. You are there with her team, hoping not to be caught by fur farmers. She climbs over walls. She crawls through mud. She is a commando on a covert mission. Capture the predicament. Record truth on film.
We are there again at a fur farm as Jo-Anne captures the eyes of those caged creatures waiting to be converted from living sentient animals into coats for the wealthy. It is always the eyes. They are so human-like and she photographs them so superbly. Eyes being windows to souls, you become one with each non-human captive.
They are fated to become ghosts in our society’s machine.
It is not until the final minute of this exceptional documentary that we see the first horror of death in a slaughterhouse. That film clip lasts for all of five seconds. This is not a typ ical animal rights movie dominated by horrifying scenes of gore.
This Liz Marshall documentary of Jo-Anne McArthur and the animals whose predicaments she captures is one which will bind the plight of non-human animals to the human soul. The film experience becomes a permanent part of our psyche. Each animal becomes a ghost in our collective machine. This is more poetry than film. Ghosts becomes spiritual like Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”. Like Carl Sandburg’s “Fog”. Like T.S. Eliot’s Jellicle cats.
I had a vision while watching Ghosts in Our Machine. I imagined a three-man forum consisting of Jesus, Muhammad, and Moses. An alliance of spiritualists.
A multitude of people waited in the valley below while three wise prophets emerged from their mountain cave called Hira, and appeared before them on a cliff. A sudden hush overcame the gathering…
The first to speak was Moses.
“L et my animals go”.
“They continue to die for your sins”.
And finally Muhammad:
“We must teach each man about the pain and suffering animals feel; that which he knew not”.
Together, their universal message of compassion immediately brought the world to an understanding. A universal oneness. And then there was peace.
And then there was this movie of perfection.
There will be six screenings today in New York City. Six more every day from November 12 – November 21. Then the documentary will be screened in Beverly Hills. Then the national tour. You will see Ghosts at summer animal rights conferences. It will be everywhere. Do not miss Ghosts in Our Machine. More importantly, have your friends and family experience the movie. This is the world changer that we have been so desperately awaiting.
“Truth has rough flavours if we bite it through.” – T.S. Eliot
Robert Cohen http://www.notmilk.com
GHOSTS MEDIA is conducting an Oscar Qualifying Theatrical Release in the U.S. in four major U.S. markets between November – December 2013: New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco (TBA) Chicago (TBA). This follows an 11-city […]