You know, there's a difference between non-judgmental, fly-on-the-wall approaches to subject matter, and seemingly having nothing to say; this film is the latter. It's just ninety-some minutes of mundane activity, with absolutely no story and only the tiniest shreds of character insight (not helped by Llinás' limited performance). It's a relentlessly dull film that gives you nothing to take from it.
Citarella and Llinás wisely decide not to bother too much with plot; the plotting for films of this subject tends to pan out in a very familiar way. What they do produce is an admirably detailed study that is surprisingly moving. Beautiful cinematography that captures the Argentine changes perfectly. Notable too for having an almost entirely female crew.
I truly wish it was as compelling as it could have been. I feel like dark scenes if better lit would have kept my attention more, and I think the fact that the film had to indicate with text what season we were in indicates weakness. We should have just seen it, experienced it more with her.
The synopsis: "A woman living in exile with a pack of dogs on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. She spends her days fixing her shack, foraging for food, and communing with nature." says absolutely nothing about this beautiful, troubling, frustrating, fascinating, heart-breaking mystery of a film. This is why I have MUBI.
It seems to me that this film is in some ways a direct (feminist?) response to Lisandro Alonso's 'La Libertad,' in that both feature a protagonist living at the fringes of society. (Possibly what made me think of this is that both films feature a rather beautiful shot of their respective protagonists crouching in the golden grasses to take a shit.) But the protagonist here is closer to society: watching, gleaning.
It was great watching this so soon after Homo Sapiens. Both offer a profound cinematic re-contextualisation of the relationship between the human, the nonhuman, and the world. Both have a lot to say about human society by p(l)acing us outside of it. A sparse soundtrack reminiscent of Tindersticks' scores for Claire Denis, which I found surprisingly effective. Finally, I love the contingent movements of the dogs...
A film that doesn't bother with any kind of standard narrative, Dog Lady is instead just a look at a lady who lives outwith society with her dogs. Co-directed and co-written by Laura Citarella and Veronica Llinas (who also plays the titular role), this is a sweet and sour distraction that you may well enjoy as much as I did, but can also easily never regret having missed it.
(2.5 stars) The title does not lie. No story really. Just a peek into a homeless lady's life with her dogs and how they all survive together. Just life being life, you know. It's filmed really, really well. This elevates the film quite a bit since you are not there for the narrative, it's nice that the film is well shot. Very meditative... if that's your kind of thing, you'll love it.
Narcissistic effort to portray a life path only lunatics and saints are able to undertake however Llinás is clearly none of them but perhaps a naive bourgeois whose hermetic and contradictory Dog Lady confusses and alarms. Silence as a way to convey meaningful heights through the power of contemplation ends up saying very little. Llinás is clearly fish out of water and her dogs a cute accessory to her fluttering.