Focus Features has released the first trailer for director Niki Caro’s (Whale Rider) bestseller adaptation The Zookeeper’s Wife. Based on the novel of the same name by Diane Ackerman, the film stars Jessica Chastain as a real-life wife of a zookeeper living in Poland during World War II who, alongside her husband, operated her zoo as a secret sanctuary for Jews looking for refuge.
The trailer portrays its deeply emotional story in low tones, but it’s not without color and light. There’s a beautiful juxtaposition of darkness and hope here from Caro, which is in line with her previous works. While I’m a little skeptical of the decision for a vague Eastern European accent from Chastain, at least it’s something different than the old “an English accent will work for any foreign story” trope that’s been going on forever. And the clearly expertly-crafted film looks to be, of course, incredibly affecting and poignant on a number of fronts, including the very act of telling a WWII tale that includes something as unexpected as a zoo. It’s a new way to explore the personal lives of those who faced the horrors of an era that must not ever be forgotten.
Watch the trailer for The Zookeeper’s Wife below. The film also stars Johan Heldenbergh and Daniel Bruhl. The Zookeeper’s Wife opens in theaters on March 31, 2017.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Zookeeper’s Wife:
The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.