The obsessive attention Austrians seemed to pay to their pets, especially cats and dogs. For these people, pets are companions, friends and fashion objects that need to be meticulously cared for. The film examines the eccentric world of lonely animal lovers in a modern society. As the director himself admits, this film speaks about a single theme: hell is us. —documentamadrid.com
Ulrich Seidl was born in Vienna in 1952 and grew up in the town of Horn in Lower Austria. He studied journalism, art history and drama in Vienna, supporting himself with odd jobs, before entering the prestigious Vienna Film Academy at the age of 26. In 1980 he made his first documentary, Einsvierzig. Following the controversy surrounding his second film, Der Ball (1982) – a wickedly satirical portrait of the graduation ball in his home town – Seidl was asked to leave the Film Academy. In 1990 he returned to the scene with the feature-length documentary Good News. Within the decade Seidl was to make seven more documentaries for cinema and television, winning much acclaim and many prizes for his work.
Hundstage – Dog Days, his first fiction film, was released in 2001 and won several important awards, beginning with the grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2001. The same year also saw the release of Zur Lage / State of… read more
I couldn't stand it. High camera angles, casting choices (walleyes as symptomatic of what? human decadence?) all bring out the grotesque in humans in a facile misanthropic automatism. Most scenes are as delicately symbolic as a punch (mem walking dogs in tight circles in wastelands) all shot (prettily) in gloomy gloaming. The satire & the corrosive 'objectivity' are entirely unearned through struggle or vision.