Monday, March 16, 2015
We don't learn a thing about the title character of Dog Lady—not even her name—except what we can glean by watching her move silently through her world. But that tells us a lot, revealing a resourceful, unflappable and observant woman who's the undisputed alpha of the pack of dogs she lives with.
This near-wordless, plot-free film makes Wendy and Lucy, another closely observed, hyper-realistic movie about a homeless woman with a dog, look positively dramatic in comparison. With no form of transportation other than her feet, she spends a lot of time walking through the unpeopled Argentinian countryside where she lives, only occasionally venturing to the nearby town as she works at keeping herself and her dogs fed, sheltered, and supplied with the basics they subsist on. She has encounters with a few people—notably a clueless doctor, a kind friend, and a gallant gaucho—but the vast majority of the time, her dogs are her only companions. She hunts birds with her slingshot, makes lanyards from plastic bags, plants a garden, transforms her lean-to into a little house using recycled and repurposed materials, and gathers firewood, water and useful cast-offs as some or all of her canine companions trot or loll by her side. As busy as she is, she finds plenty of occasions to stop and soak in the view or just sit with her dogs. It's a peaceful, tranquil, sane life; she seems to be the freest woman alive. Read the rest on Slant Magazine