Being A Dog
CAT INDEX OVERVIEW
How do you feel about watching a movie that describes the living standards of the current decade? Felix Swahn’s “Being a Dog” is an insightful film about being a dog in the human world. With its somber tone and extraordinary cinematography, the film explores the human mind and what goes on within.
The film opens in a rather grim setting. The city has an almost dystopian look which stands out. Tim, our protagonist, is seen with the physique of a man and the face of a dog which he later sheds when he meets his only friend, Ginger from whom he has become estranged. We see Tim battle through his daily life, tackling suicidal thoughts and judgemental voices inside his head and outside around him. At once his thoughts are calmed down as he meets Giner, and we see him transform into a man. He shares his feelings with his old friend confessing his loneliness and long unrequited love for her, bringing both friends closer than ever. But as Ginger leaves we see Tim restoring his mask of a dog, and participating in various activities as a dog.
One of the strengths of the film is its ability to hold a mirror to contemporary society with just a small addition of symbolism. Today’s world is a masquerade. With masked dancers prancing about with their routine of dances which we call “schedule”, our world is no less than the world of dogs we see in the movie. The addition of a dog might seem quite beneficial, reducing humans to the same horror only the Jacobeans knew of. But the film does not fall short of exposing the reality of the world. Our lives are a masquerade where from the moment we leave our houses to the moment we hit the bed, we continue with the routine dances, smiling, shaking hands, and complimenting, but we aren’t feeling. Occasionally, some of us would have the boon of sharing friends like Ginger who can pull off your mask, so that you can smile, and shake hands but this time feel every second of it.
The voice-over in “Being a Dog” is exceptional. Tim has an equal amount of regret, guilt, and love as much as he has annoyance and frustration. The little society of intrusive thoughts, which we get a glimpse of in the beginning has been beautifully voiced which then voices the questioning of the self and others which Tim struggles with within himself.
Talking about the structure of the film, what stands out is its crudity. It’s like a hammer hitting just right at the nail. The film uses a realistic force of truth, which then is beautifully structured into a script of a lifestyle of a dog who occasionally has the blessing to be a man.
With Tim, director Felix Swahn has really set the mirror for the young generation of today’s world. We seek meaningful connections, trying to make friends with whom we wouldn’t have to act, make lovers with whom we can share our everything. Just like Tim, we are all lonely, and it is people like Ginger who make living in this grim and monotonous world a little better. The film poignantly delivers this social commentary with skill.
The world is about acceptance and we see that message portrayed in Tim’s acknowledgement and acceptance of his life as a Dog. “Sometimes it’s good being a dog,” he says. With such a strong statement, Tim becomes a thought-provoking character whose acceptance of himself with all his pretense, both exterior and interior is what the modern lifestyle boils down to. It is a well-crafted film that combines psychology, crude humor, and heart to create a portrait of the modern human psyche that is both entertaining and enlightening at the same time.
Sucheta Halder is a student of Literature with a passion for movies. Binge-watching and analysing them has never felt enough so she began writing movie reviews to share the excitement she has felt. Besides that she is actively involved in cultural exchange activities with Japan, working with The Japan Curry as a content writer.