Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.
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A cautionary tale between a superior species and its disgraced inferior - Favoring pedigree dogs, a new regulation puts a severe tax on mixed breeds. Owners dump their dogs and shelters become overcrowded. 13-year-old Lili fights desperately to protect her pet Hagen, but her father eventually sets the dog free on the streets. Written by
A rewarding film if you don't expect too much. Even the scenes that don't involve an enormous pack of dogs rampaging through the streets of Budapest or smaller bands of doggy commandos hunting down their human vics have an unreal, fairytale quality. When 13-year-old Lili is separated from her beloved Hagen (great work by Luke and Body, a couple of strays from Arizona), the two subplots may seem a little shaky on their own, but the final scene, when they're reunited, is a moment of real transcendence.
The fuzzy political allegory and the echoes of Hungary's tragic history are somewhat less engaging, IMHO—gun-toting dogcatchers making like an SS Einsatzgruppe, escapees from the dog pound taking to the streets against impossible odds like the rebels of '56, a Roma character ("gyppo" in the subtitles) being cheated and reviled, a downsized professor (Lili's father) working a menial job, even the stray allusions to Liszt and Wagner; could it really be true that owners of "non-Hungarian" dogs have to pay a special tax? (As with other films from this part of the world, you may not be able to tell whether what you're watching is meant to be straightforward realism or some sort of surrealist fantasy.) Horror aficionados will be disappointed by the reticent editing style—FX are limited, and no humans actually had their throats slashed in the making of this film Fine performances and gorgeous cinematography, an epic feat of dog-wrangling—even if you're tempted to bail, hang on till that final scene.
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