Film premieres: with El perro que no calla, Ana Katz consolidates and refines her particular style


 The director's sixth film, shot in black and white, stars her brother Daniel, a taciturn young man who faces everyday life with tools that reveal the filmmaker's talent for oblique humor

The dog that does not shut up (Argentina / 2021). Direction: Ana Katz. Script: Ana Katz, Gonzalo Delgado. Photography: Gustavo Biazzi, Guillermo Nieto, Fernando Blanc, Joaquín Neira. Edition : Andrés Tamborino. Cast: Daniel Katz, Valeria Lois, Julieta Zylberberg, Carlos Portaluppi, Raquel Bank, Facundo Gambandé, Mirella Pascual, Verónica Hassan. Rating: suitable for all audiences with reservations. Duration: 73 minutes. Our opinion: very good.

The fascination with an essay by the Chilean writer Pedro Lemebel about a dog that does not stop barking was the starting point of this new film by Ana Katz, the sixth length of her career and undoubtedly the most radical in formal and narrative terms. Filmed in black and white and laden with time jumps, it has a plot divided into what could be perfectly thought of as small vignettes whose center of gravity is always Sebastián, a taciturn young man who seems a bit upset by the speed and chain of absurdities that dominate the contemporary world: the troubles of the world of work, the ordinary hypocrisy of the neighbors who overact an empathy that is actually rather scarce, the ups and downs of family and emotional relationships ...

It is clear that Lemebel's text functioned only as a trigger for this porous narrative through which other issues related to the social context of Argentina gradually filter through: the deployment of the informal economy in a country in permanent crisis, cooperative ventures ( in this case, one related to organic crops) that are being forged precisely to alleviate in some way that incessant anxiety, the struggles of the teaching union for the always insufficient salary adjustments and even the subtle memory, without any underlining that would have looked untimely to the case, of the tragic results of inequality, reflected in the murders of Maximiliano Kosteki and Darío Santillán.

But what usually appears in a solemn and declamatory tone develops here with another temperament: Katz's specialty is oblique humor, that which is born from apathy or from some ridiculous drifts of everyday life, the one that provokes laughter. uncomfortable because it can immediately question and identify any survivor of the punished national middle class. To this factory hallmark, the one that defines the actress and director's own recognizable style, this time is added a series of light formal adventures that make El perro que no calla clearly stand out from the more conventional cinema.

More than events - which there are and many throughout the 70 minutes of the film - what Katz captures are sensations, the emotional states that produce important or presumably irrelevant events in Sebastián's life, interpreted with great aplomb by his brother Daniel, a regular screenwriter who had already assumed a small role in My friend in the park , Ana's previous feature. The commitment this time was much more important and he resolved it effectively, transmitting very well the perplexity that overwhelms the character and also his curious survival strategies, which are not always unsuccessful.

Many of Sebastián's personal characteristics are socially penalized: Who today takes someone seriously who is capable of resigning a job for taking care of a dog? The cynicism and cold cruelty that are common in the demanding race to function within the system collide with the values ​​of a character who in that environment has something of a Martian, as most of those around him begin to have when unexpectedly, a kind of unnamed virus appears on the scene that forces the use of diving suits. The allegory is obvious, automatic, regardless of whether this story was written before the planetary upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic. And the methods of dealing with that silent enemy are ridiculous (people have to wear that astronaut helmet or walk crouched) pelicula de encanto,

In addition to nobility, there is an acute intelligence that this film reveals to address the continuous discomfort of a present increasingly distant from dreams and utopias without loading the ink or surrendering to the logic of the newscast. In Sebastián's modest epic, a gray epic that has no points of contact with which the most common heroes of fiction tend to agitate, there is political content. Ana Katz connects with reality with her own tools, an approach that contradicts commands and common places, which establishes a different statute for social radiography.

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