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Stray Dogs [DVD]


Price: £4.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Agheleh Rezaie
  • Directors: Marziyeh Meshkini
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Farsi
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec. 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H1QR5Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,418 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Poetic drama following the story of two homeless children who rescue a stray dog on the streets of Kabul in post-Taliban Afghanistan. When they visit the jail where their mother is a prisoner, they are permitted to stay with her for a night. But the following morning, they are thrown out: prison is for criminals, not for homeless children. Desperate to return to the jail and be with their mother, the brother and sister attempt a series of robberies, but each seems doomed to failure - until a fugitive offers them an unusual solution. The film won the Premio Open Award at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on 14 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
Marziyeh Meshkini's latest film, STRAY DOGS, from 2004, vividly illustrates that her earlier work, THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN (2001), was no fluke - she is a filmmaker with a unique vision, with the technical abilities to translate that vision to the screen. Great filmmaking runs in the family - Marziyeh is the wife of renowned Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who has 18 features to his credit, including GABBEH (1996), A MOMENT OF INNOCENCE (1996), SILENCE (1998), and KANDAHAR (2001). Their daughter Samira has followed in the artistic footsteps of her parents, directing THE APPLE (1997), THE BLACKBOARD (1999), and 5 IN THE AFTERNOON (2003). Their son Maysam and daughter Hana have begun their own careers with shorts and documentaries. The Makhmalbaf Film School was established by Mohsen so that Iranian students interested in working with cinema would have the opportunity to learn their craft in their own country - his family members who are working in film, as well as others, have been given a chance that might well have been outside of their grasp if not for his devotion to his art.

STRAY DOGS is filled with memorable images - Marziyeh's eye, spirit, intelligence and skill work together, along with her talented team, to tell this story in such a way as to carve it into the heart and soul of the viewer. The film is set in Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban - the two central characters are a sister and brother, Gol-Ghotai and Zahed, respectively. Their ages are never given directly, but I would guess that she's around 7, and her brother perhaps 11. For all practical purposes, the two are war orphans - their parents are alive, but both are in prison and unable to care for the children. Their father is a Taliban mullah who has been imprisoned by the Americans.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AfghanistanPage on 29 April 2011
Format: DVD
A film of great feeling, directed with a remarkable sensitivity, and giving both a sense of the daily life of Kabul, with its beauties and the basic decencies of its people, and the bitterness of a poverty exacerbated by war. This is a film that, instead of being outraged, is capable of instilling a sense of rage at the injustices of the world. This is never done by the display of atrocity, or violence, but by a setting up situations, in part with some well written dialogue, which are affecting. Key also is the use of the children as protagonists, and the children's care for a stray dog they rescue at the start of the film. Throughout, a couple of questions are repeatedly asked (among others): what makes these children different from stray dogs? How can it be that they can take pity on a dog, while no one takes pity on them? The film has some Shakespearean qualities, not only in deftly presenting the madness of their world, but also, and more affectingly, seeing 'going mad' as the expression of proper feeling. There is also a convincing sense of an understanding of the wanton cruelty that goes with powerlessness.

At the film's heart lies the struggle of a brother and sister to stay with their imprisoned mother. This is possible at the beginning of the film, when they are allowed in the prison at night, but then the prison governor forbids this practice, forcing them first to sleep rough, and then to try to get into prison by being arrested. Other plots are interwoven. Their mother sends them to plead for her release to their father, who has had her jailed for marrying while he was away fighting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pipehugger on 30 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film has been excellently reviewed above and all I can add is that the outstanding photography in this film left me with images more powerful and lingering than anything I have ever seen in a Hollywood film.
The amateur actors, the sets, the story, the tension and power of the children's performance. I can think of no better contemporary film. And it has stood up to five viewings already.

Package is simple - written notes and commentary. Not that this film needs any extras. Sound great.

It occupies pride of place in my collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jan Mecir on 7 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
Scruffy little homeless urchins plus fluffy little lost dog = cuteness overload.

And yet by 20 minutes in i didn't feel engaged. The direction was too withdrawn, drama too withheld, the narrative lacking compulsion or even much purpose.

I guess I'm getting more resistant to Iranian films like this with wide-eyed and innocent cute kids. I can see the manipulation involved: pick street urchins up on location; they aren't going to act because they can't act; but you can model them on how to look sympathetically photogenic. The method of delivering script is feed each kid the line they have to say just before the camera is pointed at them; then splice together these separate takes of dialogue in the edit afterwards. This avoids the kids having to act with one another or react in close ups; you just train each kid to hold still the reaction shot you want. But these close ups get to look too (com) posed, repeating the same static expressions; cus the kids aren't interiorizing the feelings they're meant to be experiencing: they mimic pretty - as in cute - facades of sad or angry, rather than enact or dramatize them from within.

So mostly you get scenes in which the dialogue being spoken looks disconnected and sounds disengaged. Which may be why i felt similarly disconnected and disengaged.

Anyway, the little dog does lots of little barking on cue - with about the same level of subtlety as these kids delivering their dialogue.

I'm surprised how slight, even facile, i found this film considering how entranced I was by her (Marzieh Meshkini) first film The Day i Became a Woman.
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