Horses (nc)

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The Independent Culture

This remarkable documentary might offer the most searching portrait of equine personality since George Stubbs.

The American documentarist Liz Mermin focuses upon three racehorses at a stable in County Wexford, talks to their charismatic trainer, Paul Nolan, and follows their not hugely successful progress through the racing calendar: injury and disappointment are endemic to this world. But it's in the tight framing of the horses themselves that Mermin's film grips most deeply. Her camera catches a quality of stillness, of shyness, even of loneliness, which lend these magnificent animals something more than their obvious athletic power. It adds up to a kind of intelligence. This would not surprise the old groom, who talks and tends to them as if they were proper friends, but it should move those who, like me, previously regarded them as the incurious four-legged things that jockeys sit on.