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Two documentary features involve stray dogs at RIDM 2019.

Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff’s Los Reyes introduces us to Chola and Futbol, both stray dogs literally haunting Los Reyes skate park in Santiago, Chile.

Although it was first intended as a documentary on the skaters, the first steps of the editing process proved that there was mainly a canine story coming out and the film was ultimately shot from the two dogs vantage point. Human’s become spectator, but we get a glimpse of the microcosm of life organized around them with the adolescents lives witnessed through soundbites creating daily short stories on their own. Off camera, the youth can be heard about topics like love, school, drugs, etc. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.

Humans come and go, events occasionally disrupt the routine,  but the main attraction,  Chola and Futbol, an inseparable duet, are at home within the park’s limit. And Perut and Osnovikoff largely succeed with Los Reyes in creating a sympathetic drama around their furry fandom characters.

 

Not devoid of interests, but less successful, the other stray dog venture of this year’s RIDM,  Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter’s Space Dogs, if at first visually ambitious, is extended beyond the reasonable achievability of its source material.

The myth of the ghost of Laika, the first dog into space, is its starting point. Rare archival footage of the Russian space program (containing some repellent animal testing images) are combine to more heavily handled creations, of poetic nature, evolving as a tale in which parallels are made with would-be descendants drifting the streets of nowadays Moscow.

Although the use of sound, archival images and overall melancholy is engaging, the philosophical perspectives routinely turn into a tiring affair.

 

SCREENINGS:

Los Reyes
Nov. 15, 1:00 PM (with French subtitles) + Nov. 23, 5:30 PM (with English subtitles), Cinéma du Parc

Space Dogs
Nov 16, 1:00 PM, Cinéma du Parc (with English subtitles)