On the heels of listening to the beautiful soundtrack for the 2019 documentary Stuffed, I subsequently got to watch the film itself. Having almost no knowledge of taxidermy going into the experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect, though the unusually bright soundtrack had alerted me to expect the unexpected.
What I saw…was something beautiful.
I had no idea there was no much I didn’t know about taxidermy! Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the process is featured in this documentary. While profiling various taxidermists around the world, Stuffed takes the time to explain all the steps that go into the taxidermy process. If you’re like me and you love learning how certain things work, you will love this part as they don’t spare any of the details (including one or two minor “ewwww” moments when a carcass is skinned). And along the way we’re treated to some gorgeous shots of stuffed animals posed in all kinds of ways, from natural poses in a museum to…what I can only describe as “practically-living art.” I had no idea taxidermy could look so beautiful.
The people you meet in Stuffed are quite interesting in their own right as well. As with many subcultures, these people come from all walks of life from all over the world. But the one thing that binds them is their love of taxidermy and it shows throughout. Everyone owns their love of taxidermy and they do not care if this makes them “odd” or “black sheep.” It’s inspiring to see people who are so content with who they are that they will happily pursue their interest no matter what.
You know what else was really awesome? Hearing Ben Lovett’s soundtrack in context with the documentary. Now I can see that a lot of that music was meant to highlight the various taxidermy displays that we’re treated to and make them more amazing then they already were. Lovett’s music really is perfect for this feature because it blends in so seamlessly with the various displays that you don’t really notice it (which is the idea, you’re not supposed to).
Another thing I learned after watching Stuffed is that the art of taxidermy is alive and well among the younger (relatively speaking) millennial generation. You have to understand that going in I assumed taxidermy was a slowly dying art, but this documentary proves the opposite. If anything, Stuffed appears to indicate that taxidermy is heading for something of a renaissance, which sounds very exciting, as I never want to see any skill go extinct. Furthermore, everyone interviewed makes it clear that taxidermy does have its practical uses, so its a skill that deserves to survive well into the future.
The point I’m trying to make is that Stuffed opens a window into a fascinating world that up until this evening I had no idea even existed. The next time I visit a museum with a taxidermy display I will definitely spend a bit more time admiring the work that I now know went in to making them possible. Stuffed also proves that you should never judge a documentary by its subject material, because this is one of the most interesting things I’ve watched all year and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to check it out.
Stuffed is currently available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and iTunes and I highly recommend checking it out at the earliest opportunity.
Let me know what you think about Stuffed in the comments below and have a great day!
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