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SXSW: We Don’t Deserve Dogs

Dogs bring us so much joy. They care not about our race, ethnicity, appearance, status, reputation or wealth (or lack thereof). They love us unconditionally in a way that other humans are incapable of. That’s why people from all walks of life love dogs. Some mistreat them but many of us fight for their rights. Dogs are a beloved member of our global family.

“A relationship with a dog is better than any relationship you’ll have with a human… They don’t know the bad side. They just know the good side.”

Directed by Matthew Sellah and produced by Rose Tucker, We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a series of vignettes about the impact dogs have on humans. Numerous countries are represented. Some of the most interesting stories include Ugandan kidnapping survivors who use dogs as a form of therapy for their PTSD, an older gentleman who is still haunted by the memory of abandoning his dog 20 years earlier, the Chilean street dog who goes by many names and depends on the kindness of strangers and the dog walker in Istanbul who walks over 30km a day taking care of the neighborhood dogs. The filmmakers interview a wide variety of subjects. Each story is unique in its own way. The cinematography is quite stunning. Low shots at the dogs’ level make for a very intimate point of view.

The film was shot over 13 months and in 11 countries including Chile, Uganda, Peru, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Finland, Romania, Vietnam,
Nepal, and Scotland.

I had two major issues with the film. First of all, there was no lower third. The audience doesn’t learn the names of the subjects or where their from. I could pick up on some clues but otherwise I was confused about which countries are represented. This may be to strip the focus away from the humans and onto the dogs but I think a lower third could have helped. The second is a huge trigger for dog lovers. One vignette follows a Vietnamese couple who kill dogs and sell their meat. The dogs provide a form of income for them but I do think this segment was unnecessary and difficult to watch. Removing it would make for a better film overall.

We Don’t Deserve Dogs was set to have its world premiere at the SXSW film festival. You can find more information about the film over on the Urtext Films website.

3 thoughts on “SXSW: We Don’t Deserve Dogs Leave a comment

    • Good question! The lower third is the text that appears at the bottom of the screen. With documentary it’ll tell you the name of the subject, their job, where they’re from or any pertinent information. It helps identify the people. It’s also used for other things.

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