The Wiener Tierschutzverein (Viennese Animal Protection Society) is among the oldest and biggest animal shelters in Europe. They not only a house a wide variety of animals – from cats and dogs to chimpanzees – but also treat injured wild animals and occupy themselves with strays. The documentary takes a look at the every day life of the shelter animals and their employees and volunteers.
Tiere und andere Menschen is a nice look behind the scenes of the animal shelter and gives you a lot of insight into just their day to day challenges. I really enjoyed it, but be warned: if you’re a sap like me, you’ll probably want to adopt every single animal they show after the film.
I’ve been a donor to the Wiener Tierschutzverein for years, and as a teenager, we adopted a dog from the shelter, so I was not unaware of what kinds of services they provide. Nevertheless to see the wide variety of challenges and animals they face in such a dense frame was really impressive. They also make clear, though, that only a part of their work is actually about the animals. A lot of it is more about the humans around the animals, exploring their bonds and relationships.
Marchetti manages to pack a lot in the short runtime of the film without making it feel like it’s just a collection of unconnected scenes or making it overwhelming. And while you can feel the sincerity with which they show the importance of shelters and their work, the film doesn’t lack a sense of humor.
But there are also sad moments where it becomes obvious that you can’t save everybody. And that’s never easy to accept and deal with. And as I said, there are so many animals I wanted to adopt after the film (I have two cats and I live in a house with quite a few dogs, it’s not a good idea for me to adopt any more animals, especially since I’m not home a lot and YET).
There’s just one detail that made me very uncomfortable: at one point they show an admission (or adoption?) procedure and read out the complete phone number of the client and I would have preferred it, if they had protected their privacy. ETA (07.10.2018): As you can see in the [German] comment below, I was informed that they actually changed the number in post-production to a number that doesn’t exist, so you can disregard this point.
But if that’s the only fault I can find of the film, you can probably imagine how strong it was.
Summarizing: Really sweet.