Gold for Dogs (2020) Poster


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A film of equally dull two halves
euroGary23 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
"De l'or pour les chiens"/"Gold for Dogs" starts off promisingly enough, with an extended scene of energetic humping in the manner of "Betty Blue" (except on a beach, not in a chalet). Unfortunately it is all downhill from there in this tale of a young girl, Esther, wafting around doing not a lot of anything. With metronome regularity the clichés come thudding down: at a party, Esther discovers her lover having sex with another woman; despite that betrayal, Esther continues anyway to fling herself at the boy; he leaves her behind when he returns to his home in Paris; not taking the hint, she follows him; when she turns up on his doorstep, he does not want to know; etc etc etc. There is a drastic change of direction in the second half of the film when Esther takes up residence in a convent. If being male was not enough to disqualify this reviewer from such an institution anyway, the film is persuasive that such a life is not for me: after approximately 45 minutes of it I was bored out of my skull; no way could I manage an entire lifetime! Esther eats, sleeps, does a bit of work in the kitchen and watches a nun do some ironing. An attempt by writer/director Anna Cazenave Cambet to create some mystery involving a nun under a vow of silence is resolved in one info-dump at the film's end, and the nunnery's sole male presence, a gardener, is described as "what a man!" by one character but remains forever a mystery to the viewer because he is filmed out-of-focus in the background. Esther's budding friendship with a novice nun provides a bit of interest for the viewer, but that is pretty slim pickings amongst all the dullness.

However, Tallulah Cassavetti, in the lead role, is quite impressive as Esther, at first portraying her as disinterested in anything except her lover: rare moments when a ray of hope or a hint of desperation strike her face are very effective. She also portrays well Esther's gradual relaxing in the convent. In this I assume she was assisted by Cambet. Sadly, those are rare bright spots in an otherwise dull film. Seen as part of the 2020 London Film Festival.
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