We follow Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal —three endearing stray dogs— through the streets of Istanbul. They are going nowhere in particular, they are merely roaming around the city as if it were their own, without limits. In this beautiful documentary from Elisabeth Lo, we let ourselves be guided through Istanbul’s crowded places and streets full of people. The everyday life of these dogs is not affected by political or social events. They momentarily get together with other dogs, despite the fact that they are essentially loners and then, they are on their way again. The documentary’s point of view makes us focus on everything that is at the level of the dogs’ eyes. Inevitably, the lonely masters of the city end up meeting and bonding with a group of young Syrian refugees who end up making the perfect companions for these dogs, separating them when they fight and sharing food with them.

 

The fact that viewers are witnessing everything at the same height as the four-legged protagonists makes it a strictly observational documentary with an exceptional perspective. The montage and quotes from philosophers that are interspersed bring a counterpoint, a context and a subjective vision to this incredible documentary with minimal intervention. Elisabeth Lo turned hours and hours of footage into a feature film of just over an hour, that is equally evocative and appealing.

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Credits

Year: 2020
Runtime: 72′
Country: USA
Direction: Elizabeth Lo
Screenplay: Elizabeth Lo
Genre: Documentary
Subtitles: Subtitula’m, Guillem Cunill i Sabatés
Contact: Dogwoof

Wins & nominations

2020: Hot Docs – Best International Documentary
2020: Gijón Film Festival
2020: Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards – Nominated for Best First Documentary Feature
2020: Stockholm Film Festival