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Cannes 2024: We saw a heartwarming friendship between a lone biker and a stray dog



Black DogChina and Dog

In Black Dognew film by director Guan Hu presented in the section In a certain perspective at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, we follow the story of Lang (Eddie Peng), a municipal officer responsible for evacuating stray dogs from his hometown in the Gobi Desert, on government orders. His city will soon be rebuilt, after most of the population has left, and the Beijing Olympic Games are expected to be a great moment of recovery. Gangs and, above all, hundreds of dogs populate the city, including one, simply called the “black dog”, suspected of rabies. Lang will find this dog and gradually tame it.

After his great show The 800 Brigade, one of the greatest global successes in the history of Chinese cinema, Guan Hu wanted to make an arthouse film with a political content, with a naturalistic and contemplative image to tell the story of the meeting of two marginalized beings condemned to a form of immobility. The dog cannot roam freely, nor does Lang who has just been released from prison and must stay within a certain perimeter. Former stunt motorcyclist, famous in his region, was involved in a murder. Silent, almost mute, his meeting with “Cane Nero” will be the occasion of a rebirth.

An arthouse film populated by real animals

Political and social news, movie friend contemplative and uniform street film with Lang building a sideal machine on a motorbike for the dog, Black Dog unfolds the animality present in every human being. In this disadvantaged city, the almost abandoned zoo from which some animals have escaped and of which Lang’s father is the guardian, is therefore a central place in the story. A meeting place, of points of view, a place with a bittersweet atmosphere where there is a very fragile freedom and community for men and animals.

Black Dog
Black Dog ©Memento Distribution

Particularly interested in the presence of numerous real animals in this arthouse film, dogs, snakes, a wolf and even a tiger, we caught up with Guan Hu to find out how he worked with these very special characters.

Guan Hu : I wanted to accept this challenge, and it’s actually not easy. But it was also a lot of fun. Once you find the right method, it works. Especially with dogs, a lot of patience is required. The methods then vary depending on the animals, but we had the means. The most important thing is always to feed them!

The director of Black Dog he further explained that luck also has its role to play:

There’s a scene where I wanted the tiger to show Lang where the black dog was hiding. Of course, this seemed impossible to achieve. But just when we were starting to run out of ideas on how to make this happen, the Manchurian tiger stood up on its own and growled softly at where the dog was hiding. The actor playing Lang also looked over his shoulder in that direction and found the dog. A result beyond my expectations.

Source: Cine Serie

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