Tales of Tails: Dogs on Screen

Pera Film’s new program brings together stories of dogs from all around the world as part of Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation İstanbul Research Institute’s The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of İstanbul exhibition. Tales of Tails: Dogs on Screen explores how cinema reserves a heart-warming celebration of genres and captivating stories of man’s best friend: dogs. The program captures emotions of humans and dogs alike; the collected films come in a variety of visual narratives from drama, comedy, horror, animation, documentaries to the avant-garde. Whether it’s in Patagonia or Budapest, in Oregon or a deserted island in the ocean, these ‘stars with tails’ become symbols of hope or rebellion. In these films, dogs may be a reason to live for their owners and we get to know people through their relationships with these dogs.

Now it is time to wander in these cinematic streets with Bombón, Hagen, Lucy, Truman, Tulip, Otto, Baxter, Lolabelle and many others!

Wiener-Dog | Todd Solondz, 2016

Acclaimed director of American Independent Cinema, Todd Solondz, portrays the American society via a “wiener-dog” in his latest film. Being carried away from one home to another, this dachshund is adopted by owners of various ages and professions, yet they all have one thing in common: being weird. Being pretty politically-incorrect and having a lot to say about the American experience, Wiener-Dog has a star cast of independent cinema.

Family Film | Olmo Omerzu, 2015

A middle-aged couple, Irena and Igor, departs for a long voyage across the ocean, with their dog Otto. They have trust upon their two children to be left home alone; they also trust video calling technologies to follow what they left behind. Bad surprises of fate and nature, getting lost in the ocean, the children that overdo enjoying their freedom or family secrets that reveal one after another… A Family Film has everything, but these are nothing compared to what Otto, the cute and talented dog has gone through!

Heart of a Dog | Laurie Anderson, 2015

Heart of a Dog is artist Laurie Anderson’s unconditional love for her dog Lolabelle. This very personal film, celebrating the return of Anderson to cinema after a break of 29 years, is created by assembling different film techniques like animation, home videos and disrupted images. Narrating the story herself, from her partner Lou Reed’s music to America’s 9/11 paranoia- this heart-warming documentary was in competition for the Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival.


Truman | Cesc Gay, 2015

Tomás pays an unexpected visit from Canada to his actor friend Julián in Madrid. Reuniting after long years, two friends find themselves in an equally entertaining and touching tale of friendship. They are, of course, accompanied by Julián’s dog, Truman. Winner of five Goya awards, including Best Picture, Truman stars reputed actors Ricardo Darín and Javier Cámara.

White God | Kornél Mundruczó, 2014

When her father sets her dog Hagen free on the streets of Budapest, thirteen-year-old Lili becomes devastated. She runs away from home to search for him while Hagen’s path crosses dark people on dark streets full of violence, enmity, assault and danger. In this city of overcrowded shelters and illegal dog fights, Hagen becomes a symbol of revolution and this revolution becomes a symbol of Lili’s rebellion. Awarded with Un certain regard prize in Cannes Film Festival, Kornél Mundruczó’s White God is empowered by pure love in spite of all its harshness and wilderness.

My Dog Tulip | Paul Fierlinger & Sandra Fierlinger, 2009

Based on BBC editor and author J.R. Ackerley’s memoirs with the same title, this animated feature film depicts the fifteen-year-old friendship of him and his dog Tulip in the most realistic way. Just like the book itself, My Dog Tulip introduces Tulip with all its “dogness”, giving the most anatomical and sexual details. Accompanied by Christopher Plummer’s voice with a strong, cheeky British humor, the film was created with a hand-made digital animation technique.

Wendy and Lucy | Kelly Reichardt, 2008

It’s a hard summer for Wendy: She finds a job in a factory in Alaska, but her car breaks down on the way. Her only love in this life is her dog Lucy, but she gets lost. A series of unfortunate events lead to her financial and emotional crisis. Wendy’s story of struggle in order to find her dog, comes to life with Kelly Reichardt’s strongly realistic direction. Michelle Williams’s performance is simple, transparent and impressive and the director’s real-life dog Lucy accompanies her.

Bombón: El Perro | Carlos Sorin, 2004

52-year-old Juan “Coco” Villegas, suddenly loses his job at a gas station, where he had been working for more than two decades. He does not give up and seeks different jobs in the villages of Patagonia and tries to hold on. One day, after a repair job, he gets paid in the strangest way; with a dog! Argentine director Carlos Sorin’s Bombón: El perro tells the story of an extraordinary dog who changes an ordinary man’s life.

Best in Show | Christopher Guest, 2000

It is an exciting day for American dog owners… This mockumentary comedy, co-written and directed by the genre’s acclaimed director Christopher Guest, focuses on the participating dog owners of a prestigious dog show organized in Philadelphia. From the moment they leave from different States to the post-show follow-ups, we get to know these weird and crazy people! Best in Show guarantees fun and laughter with its improvised dialogues, talented comedic actors and different breeds of dogs.

Baxter | Jérôme Boivin, 1989

Baxter is a dog with high expectations. He was given to his owner Mrs. Deville as a present by her daughter. Although she is afraid of Baxter, she is more afraid of being alone; she accepts living with him. But Baxter needs to be dominated and challenged, not to live with an old lady! He gets rid of her, makes it look like an accident and starts living with his new owners, a young couple. He is happy and satisfied – until he learns they will soon have a baby… Jérôme Boivin’s cult horror film Baxter, is not the usual ‘dog film’.

See Pera Film website for details.