2021 Sundance Review: The Dog Who Wouldn’t be Quiet

Director(s): Ana Katz

Writer(s): Gonzalo Delgado, Ana Katz

Cast: Daniel Katz, Julieta Zylberberg, Carlos Portaluppi, Mirella Pascual

Synopsis: Sebastian, a man in his thirties, works temporary jobs and he embraces love at every opportunity. He transforms, through short encounters, as the world flirts with the possible apocalypse.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t be Quiet is one of the more purely beautiful films I have seen this year. Not just in the use of the beautiful cinematography, or the genius uses of hand drawn animation to show scenes that couldn’t be filmed, but in the context of what the film is trying to say. This is film about life and the ever-changing and ever-adapting way we live it. It is about the highs and lows and everything in between that makes life worth living. There are moments of joy and sadness as we follow Sebastian, gracefully played by Daniel Katz as he navigates through his life.

As the film begins, we see an issue Sebastian is having with his neighbors regarding his dog. They keep saying they can hear how sad she is, and throughout the movie, this echoes through Sebastian. Sebastian’s life is moving so fast as he has to leave his job to take care of his dog, only to lose her in an accident soon after. The scene of the accident was shown with some of the inventive drawings I talked about earlier, which I believe made it just as hard to watch since we had to envision everything that was happening.

From this moment on, we are left with just Sebastian, and we can see the pain he is in. He is forced to get another job, move again, and even eats food off of a bus seat. His life is a constant roller coaster, but he keeps living and keeps finding joy where he can find it. The films poetic structure doesn’t start and end in the themes, but the entire film itself plays out like a poem. Similarities and oppositions between different situations in Sebastians life were easily recognizable. I thought the dialogue was fine, but I think this movie could have worked as a silent film. Ana Katz creates such a great visual space that if the film had just been the beautiful score and the scenes, I still think we would have gotten a full understanding of everything that went on in this world.

Visually, this film is astounding. The gorgeous nature of the film, coupled with a beautiful score, brought me into this world. The use of drawings was, at times, hard to watch because you knew that these were powerful moments that couldn’t be caught any other way. They forced you to tap into your mind and create these moments. Ana Katz is a visual storyteller at its absolute best, and the mesmerizing world she created was remarkable.

I do, however, wish this film was given more time to breathe however. I appreciate the sentiment that Ana Katz was trying to display, but at a very short hour and thirteen minutes, I definitely think there was room to expand on this story. At least enough room to let some more of the scenes and situations play out in a way to gain more understanding, or just additional time in the beginning so we had more time with the dog.

Final: The Dog Who Wouldn’t be Quiet is a beautiful and poetic look at one mans ever-changing life. Ana Katz uses gorgeous black and white, as well as some incredible drawings, to paint an elegant portrait of the many highs and lows life has to bring. It won’t be for everyone, but I think it’s fantastic. I just wish some moments were given a little more time to breathe.

My Score: B+

2021 Sundance Coverage

2021 Film Rankings

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

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