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21 Ratings

Old Dog

Khyi rgan

Directed by Pema Tseden
China, 2011


Third feature by the front runner of Tibetan cinema, whose first short film was screened in Rotterdam. Without raising the tempo, he gets better and better. In this allegory, an old shepherd is angry at his son for selling their Tibetan mastiff, a popular dog race among rich Chinese people.

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Old Dog Directed by Pema Tseden
Austerely pictorial, shot with the generally static camera characteristic of Chinese documentary, “Old Dog” has a powerful sense of place. Deliberately paced and understated, it lacks the fierce pantheism of Michelangelo Frammartino’s superficially similar sit-doc “Le Quattro Volte” but, as noted by Shelly Kraicer in Cinema Scope, Tseden has let the story tell itself…
May 15, 2013
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Instead of a typical three-act structure, Old Dog relies on the increasing burden of its narrative metaphors to steer its story toward a conclusion. The film becomes a portrait of the loss of Tibetan culture, as Akhu stakes his life on protecting his prize working dog from becoming merely a plaything for wealthy Han Chinese.
May 15, 2013
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While the rigid framing and wispy plot create an unfortunate inertia, they also magnify the occasional whimsical moment, like the priceless expression on the face of a bemused goat as it’s overtaken on the street by a rolling lump of green plastic. Raw and resolute, this unsettling fable feels driven by an anger that remains largely unexpressed.
May 14, 2013
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