After premiering in Competition at Cannes to rave reviews, Matteo Garrone’s (Gomorrah, Tale of Tales) Dogman surrounds us in the world of Marcello (Marcello Fonte), his dog grooming business in Magliana, a distant suburb of Rome, and the criminal temptations that surround him there.
It echoes Garrone’s 2008 breakout feature Gomorrah, which painted a nihilistic, hyper-masculine view of fringe Italian society and criminal life; and in Dogman the scene is again set in an urban wilderness: all concrete and empty playgrounds. Marcello does his job diligently while trying to be a good father to his devoted young daughter. But he also has a sideline in dealing cocaine; and once he makes the mistake of supplying poisonous local bully Simone (Edoardo Pesce), finds himself trapped in a perilous relationship and led towards further, more serious criminality.
Visceral and thrillingly stylish, Dogman is imbued with intelligence and moral force and benefits greatly from Fonte’s performance, which deservedly won him Best Actor at Cannes (and where, in addition, the film also took home the coveted Palm Dog).
While Europe has witnessed new records of film produced per year and a consistent development of policies and initiatives dedicated to cross-border collaborations, European films still struggle to travel past their national limits, and their “European-ness” seems obfuscated by the persistence of a national cinema framework.
The ever-unpredictable Bruno Dumont (Li’l Quinquin) takes another thrilling hairpin turn with this audacious, 15th century-set heavy metal musical composed by Igorrr (aka Gautier Serre).