With the wide variety of films that were on offer at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it was clear that there would be a few that fell under the radar. One of them, a film I am only seeing now in relation to its release from Curzon, is The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet. An absurdist drama from director Ana Katz, this 73-minute feature follows Seba (Daniel Katz) as he experiences some strange moments in his life, some realistic and some not so much.
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is quite experimental for a “slice-of-life” film, as each scene is fragmented. Composed as if it is a series of separate shorts, the film keeps Seba in the focus to add direction and a sense of progression within the story. The short runtime certainly helps keep the story moving and makes for an easy and quick watch, but some of the scenes struggled to connect which does hinder the overall pacing. It particularly drags in the middle section, where it becomes harder due to the editing to connect with our lead character and his struggles.
The storytelling format also struggles to create connection with our side characters or give them personality. The script feels flat as it allows no time to explore the characters, get to know them as people and to understand their motives and relationships. For a film that is meant to feel authentic and tell a story that is personal and have the audience observe this life, to not have anyone outside of Seba be compelling does take away from the impact of the film.
Despite all of that, there is still plenty to admire with The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet and it is worth commending director Ana Katz for taking the risk with the narrative. It is a fun concept for a presentation, and the progression of Seba is authentic as he goes through different looks and phases, spanning over the course of years in this film. These short film sequences are edited together nicely, and even has some fun with animation used to tell a couple of the events – all of which are well done and add some fun to this film.
The film is also stunning to watch. With the black-and-white cinematography that was chosen to capture the shots, it becomes less distracting to the main story and adds a touch of documentary style to the film, something that helps add an authentic voice to the direction. Not only that, but the shots themselves are excellently composed. Whether it is a long distance shot of Seba and his dog out and about, or a close-up shot of the clothes drying on the washing line, it is hard not to admire the beauty within the film.
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is a film that people will either fall in love with or be bored from start to finish. Personally, I did find it a bit hard to get into and to stay invested in the characters. However, with the short runtime and the beautiful visuals, as well as having some creativity and fun with the format of feature filmmaking, I would say that for those who are interested in the project, it is worth giving it a watch.
Director: Ana Katz, Gonzalo Delgado (co-screenwriter)
Stars: Daniel Katz, Julieta Zylberberg, Valeria Lois, Mirella Pascual, Carlos Portaluppi
Runtime: 73 minutes