The Cave of the Yellow Dog, 2005
A simple story of a young Mongol girl and her family, told against an epic landscape. With its cast of non-professional actors, the film is documentary-like in its pacing and unfiltered gaze at a beautiful other world. When the girl claims a lost dog as her own, the drama begins. A cultural revelation, the film is a reflection on innocence, wonder and the human-animal bond.
Still Life with Animated Dogs, 2001
This 60-minute gem traces the filmmaker’s tumultuous life from Stalinist Czechoslovakia to the United States as seen through his relationships with his dogs. It is Fierlinger’s loyalty and caring for his dog that sustains him even in an atmosphere of oppression and suspicion. Each dog serves as a marker of the filmmaker’s personal growth from a misanthrope to an artist who appreciates the divine powers of nature. Exquisite storytelling.
My Dog Skip, 2000
A faithful adaptation of Willie Morris’ classic book about a shy boy growing up in 1940s Mississippi with the help of his beloved dog, Skip. The amusing and touching vignettes are performed by an exceptionally talented Jack Russell and a youthful Frankie Muniz. This paean to a boy’s first dog is told sweetly and sincerely, and will elicit waves of nostalgia.
Best in Show, 2000
The tagline from the film is “Some pets deserve a little more respect than others,” and what could have been simply a 90-minute gag turns into a hilarious character study of show-dog devotees. Aside from the searing wit with which these obsessions are made, the film’s genius lies in its kernels of truth, recognizable by all dog lovers.
Do you have a favorite dog film or canine-stealing scene from the past decade? We’d love to hear about it—post your comments below.