• Name: Dhogs
• Year: 2017
• Country: Spain
• Director: Andrés Goteira
• Main cast: Carlos Blanco, Alejandro Carro, María Costas
• Runtime: 85 minutes
• Production company: Gaitafilmes, Pixel Films
Andrés Goteira signs one of the most original Spanish genre films of the year. Dhogs (2017) is his debut, and it’s already part of the Official Fantàstic Competition of this 50th Sitges Film Festival. The independent film was found in the Cannes film market this year, and the festival programmers were immediately impressed and happy to include it in the show. The Galician director enters the festival through the front door, and does it with a movie that was made thanks to crowdfunding: a sign of how Spain little invests in cinema, maybe, but also of how the new ways of project financing by individual investments can have a huge positive impact in cinema production.
The movie starts with the definition of the two names that compose the title: “Dogs, submissive and obedient animals” and “Hogs, dirty and perverse” a duality that will be present in the hole film. After this, a conversation on various child games, comparing them with political society behaviors, serves as an introduction to the sordid story that is about to begin, taking place as in three different acts, all of them vertebrated by a woman as the main character, and taking place under the gaze of an audience. Andrés Goteira introduces like this the first of multiple layers of fiction, playing with the concepts of passive and active, of watching and being watched. The fact of showing spectators in the film, that are at the same time watched by us, spectators in the real world, breaks in a way the fourth wall, and confronts us with the action that is taking place. We are certainly closer to the dramatic events as we may think, and the fiction is less fiction. In one of the violent moments of the film, the criminal uses a rabbit head with a clear reference to Donnie Darko (2001); as a remembering, in that film the human-sized rabbit manipulated a boy to commit crimes. In this movie, the man uses the mask when he’s about to act bad, maybe to separate his actions from real life. But it’s his choice, he is not a fictional character, and he’s responsible for his behavior.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Goteira also introduces the videogames reference, where the player has a direct choice in the story development, acting as the god of a controlled reality with predetermined endings. Reminding us we’re that silent audience that sits quietly in a cinema, or in the sofa at home, he makes us aware of our voyeur role and the real implications that our attitude may have. Fiction is closer to reality than we may think. That moment where at the screen appears the choice between “Free her” or “Abuse” becomes a great challenge in our spectator minds, as it plays with the remote voyeuristic desires we as humans have. In the end, the title comparison with both animalistic behaviors makes total sense, and the film leaves us with thoughts about our human condition and our role in society. Watch it if you have the chance.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5612554
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