An existentialist fable about a woman who lives with a pack of dogs on the very edge of the populated world, with minimal contact with other people. The seasons come and go. On life and survival, love and death.
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It's more than an hour into this mostly-wordless, often-inscrutable story before we catch a rare glimpse of the title character's inner life. Mostly, the film asks us to be content eavesdropping on the equally idyllic and punishing daily survival of Dog Lady and her brood on the rural outskirts. Whether you enjoy the film's powerhouse ending may depend on if that insight is enough for you. It sure was for me.
"A se deveni cîine cuiva" înseamnă "A supune și flata cuiva." în limba Japoneză, care este, mă gînd, impertinent dizgrațios pentru cîine. Acestă e un portret puternic al unei femeie care supraviețuiește în logic și lumeă diferită din capitalism omenesc, facîndu-te să reconsiderezi acest cuvînt. // 日本語で“犬になる”とは“誰かに媚びへつらう”というのを意味しているのは、犬に対して恥さらしなほど失礼なことだと思える。今作はその言葉を再考させるような、人間とは別の倫理を以て資本主義とは別の世界を生き抜く、女性の強靭な肖像画なのだ。
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.
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.
There are some liberties and romantic views on how this margined woman survives on the peripheries of Buenos Aires suburbs. But the real stroke of genius is how the film captures the unique bond she has with her dogs. Unexpectedly watchable.