SIFF 2021: The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is an absurdist drama by Argentinian filmmaker Ana Katz. In it, she uses a listless protagonist as a vessel for a variety of vignettes exploring universal truths while maintaining a dry sense of humor throughout. Coincidental parallels in the film to worldwide pandemic offer an unexpected connection to some of the more absurd premises. All of this is enhanced by gorgeous black and white cinematography and a screenplay that constantly builds upon itself.

Sebastian’s (Daniel Katz, the director’s brother) dog will not be quiet while Sebastian is at work, and she is driving the neighbors crazy. Sebastian rectifies this issue by taking his dog with him to work which promptly results in his firing. From there, Sebastian goes on an increasingly absurd journey including a stint working with a collective of communist farmers and eventually getting married (his wife is portrayed by Julieta Zylberberg) and having a child during a worldwide emergency where all air more than four feet off the ground is toxic to breathe. Through each of these events, Sebastian maintains a positive demeanor and is always there to help anyone in need.

The risk in films that are as episodic as The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is that if the through line is not strong enough, the film falls apart. Ana Katz was able to avoid that misfortune by making Sebastian’s unbridled optimism and philanthropy act as a constant straight man for the absurd situations Katz writes for him. This grounded presence also helps in processing the more extreme scenarios. As the film flirts with surrealism, the audience can look to Sebastian for a baseline while the absurdist atmosphere envelopes them.

Through a collection of head scratching vignettes, Ana Katz exposes a multitude of human insecurities in her film The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet. Buoyed by a tightly focused screenplay and a lead performance tailor made for the feature, The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet delivers everything that can be asked of a film this disconnected from the Hollywood cinematic scene. It is well worth the 73 minutes for anyone looking for something unique.