Directed by Peter Friedman • Documentary • With Samantha Khury • 1990 • 54 minutes
Samantha is an "animal therapist and psychic" who has convinced skeptical pet owners, zoo keepers, and race horse trainers that she really can "talk" to their animals. Here we see her at work counselling race horses in need of leisure time, "depressed "cats, and negotiating with naughty ants. And we hear from owners and trainers who describe how their animals' behavior changed following Samantha's sessions, and how she told them things about the animals that she "could not have known" — unless the animals told her themselves.
Linda Dubler, Curator of Film at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, says, "Witty and understated, Peter Friedman’s I TALK TO ANIMALS hardly seems the sort of documentary one would call subversive. But if we accept the essence of Friedman’s work, it is not merely subversive but revolutionary, for it tests the very foundations of our experience of consciousness and our relationship with the natural world. What begins as a quasi-comedy (What else would you call the saga of Casey, the depressed, unemployed cat?), deepens into an almost religious meditation on humankind’s vanity and isolation. After watching Friedman’s fine portrait she seems a genuine enigma — a mythic seer in the modern world."