Sundance 2021 Review: EL PERRO QUE NO CALLA

One day you find yourself young and full of youth and the next? Working a boring office job and dreaming of literally anything else. El Perro Que No Calla deals with the age old question that has haunted generations of young people for eons: Why Am I Even Here? And its sequel: F*** It, What If I Just Quit?

In El Perro Que No Calla directed by Ana Katz, Sebastian does just that. After bringing his dog, Rita, to work, his bosses give him an ultimatum: stop or you’re fired. Sebastian chooses the latter. Although unemployed, a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders and he decides to spend some time in the countryside with his friends and his dog. Through a series of animation sequences, we see and feel the sense of idyllic peace that Sebastian has with his dog. But peace does not last and tragedy strikes. His dog dies and the blissful fantasy he had created dissolves. He travels back to the city to stay with his mother, where he finds himself subject to the judgement of her friends. Time passes, but we still get the sense that Sebastian is a wanderer in life, directionless in his goals, a growing anxiety painted across his expressive eyes.

Daniel Katz appears in The Dog Who Wouldn’t’ Be Quiet by Ana Katz, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

 He meets a girl at his mother’s wedding and they hit it off. Soon, the pair get married and Sebastian is forced to reckon with his responsibilities after they have their first son. The universe has other plans. A mysterious sickness infects the entire globe, but it only affects a person if they are above a certain height. Humanity has to resort to crouching and moving on all fours to keep society running. It is somewhat cynically comical to see everyone on screen try to act as if everything is normal when nothing really is. 

Told through a stylized black and white lens, El Perro Que No Calla is a film that deals with existentialism through the life of a man who takes things one day at a time and how it takes time to grow into your own skin. Living isn’t about the big moments, it’s about the small ones that build over time — the ones that help you build roots. Intimate and introspective, El Perro Que No Calla is a deep dive into the continual growth humans have through the years — no matter how big or small, important or nonsensical, that may be.

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