Strange Feeling left
Steward Willons | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a strange feeling left when I left the cinema. Is it true that some people live in such a world? Somehow depressing, in a very strange way funny, too. "Dogdays" in Austrian language means something special: named after the star Sirius wich is the Dog-Star and wich appears in the beginning of August the "Dog`s Days" means a period of very good and hot wheater with no clouds - almost too hot. You feel like everybody else but the characters are on holidays. "Dog" is somehow the Mind-Level of all of those characters playing in the film. You can say what you want: this is a film you`ve never seen any alike before. And that's reason enough to watch it. To me at least. The film is somehow very slow and you have a distance to it by seeing those many difference characters as from inside themselves.
Somehow very special cinema and somehow very funny in strange depressing way. (...)A weekend, a heat-period: six stories, woven together, telling fragments of ordinary everydaylife. Evenings of songplay, sex and violence, days of lust and love, longing for love and not reaching it. A weekend full of the most normal catastrophees. Suburbian surroundings.""
Steward Willons | Illinois | 06/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dog Days is an incredible film, though what it has to offer will certainly not be appreciated by every viewer. This is not to be meant as condescending - I simply mean not everyone will enjoy Ulrich Seidl's aesthetics which have more than a little in common with Von Trier's Domga 95 movement. Though Seidl doesn't explicitly articulate his aesthetics the way Von Trier does, it features the same sense of realism. The characters are mostly non-actors wearing their own clothes and without makeup (except where diegetically necessary). The acting is very raw with many scenes calling for displays of intense emotional pain. There is no non-diegetic music. The film is shot entirely with hand-held DV. The film is, however, very aesthetically appealing. There are many beautiful, sun-drenched compositions, even if all the characters are sweating!
Contrary to a previous reviewer, I believe Seidl means for the title "Dog Days" to denote intense, unbearable heat of summer. He shot only on days where the weather exceeded 98 degrees. This alone required a number of years to complete the film. Seidl has said that he believes, under the pressure of intense heat, people's emotional and mental states change. However, the heat isn't central to any of the stories. It just serves to heighten what are already miserable tales of suburban life. Where a situation might be tough for a character, the extreme heat pushes it over the edge.
The stories are fascinating and frequently depressing. Many can be generalized as unhappy people making other unhappy people (and themselves) unhappy. This is the kind of story Dogma 95 directors love because it provides so many opportunities to show raw emotion. If that doesn't sound pleasant, this is probably not going to be an enjoyable film for you. Others may find it deeply engrossing. If you're a fan of Von Trier or other such directors, you'll love Dog Days. Zavattini and Rossellini would be proud."