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CFUV @ VFF 2019: Dogman

The reason that international films tend to really move me, is their unique ability to provide a window into a part of the world that I’ve never seen before. I feel privileged as a viewer to observe these small moments, these locations, images, and experiences that are otherwise unfamiliar to me.

Dogman was certainly no exception, while the story of the film is incredibly interesting on its own, I was initially drawn to Dogman because of its setting in Magliana, a gritty neighbourhood on the outskirts of Rome that is not often captured on the big screen. Stunning, crisp shots of rundown streets, abandoned playgrounds, and tiny taverns form a visually arresting backdrop to the story of Marcello.

Marcello is a kind and unassuming dog groomer who runs into trouble when his involvement with local kingpin Simonico ties him to the robbery of a jewelry shop owned by Marcello’s neighbour and friend. After a stint in prison (served while Simonico was able to walk free) Marcello returns to the town seeking revenge. Scenes of heart-wrenching violence are contrasted with lighthearted, sincere encounters between Marcello and his young daughter, as well as the unique parade of dogs that come through his shop for grooming. Dogman weaves a narrative that questions the complex notions of agency and accountability. If a person is coerced or forced into committing a crime, are they still truly responsible for their actions? The film shows us a man who desperately wants to find meaning, security, and belonging in a world that is scarce of all those things.

Dogman will be screening on Friday February 8th, 6:15 pm at Silvercity. Tickets can be purchased online at victoriafilmfestival.com.

-Amy Anderson

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