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Dogman – Festival de Cannes In Competition Prospectus


Matteo Garrone – Italy

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Dubbed by it’s director as an “urban western” this film is inspired by a homicide committed by a coked-out dog groomer during the late 1980s in the gangland outside Rome. The case, involved hours of torture in a dog cage, and is considered among the most gruesome in Italian postwar history. Marcello Fonte plays plays the small and gentle dog groomer, named Marcello, who becomes involved in a dangerous “relationship of intimidation” with a former violent boxer named Simone, played by Edoardo Pesce (“Pure Hearts”) who bullies the entire neighborhood. Garrone has gone on record to stated that althugh the film’s plot is inspired by the brutal homicide committed by the dog groomer, it “does not intend in any way to reconstruct the facts in the way in which it is said that they took place.” (by Bianca Garner)


“The look and feel of Dogman are terrifically good; Garrone has such brio in the way he shows us Marcello’s happy little life, taking him at his own sentimental estimation of himself, and then shows us his descent into bitterness and vengefulness – and his almost superhuman ability to absorb physical punishment.” – – – – – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Garrone’s prowess as a director is still undeniable, and as far as nasty, gripping brutality goes, Dogman certainly delivers. If you’re looking for pulpy violence, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t expend too much thought over what it’s all supposed to mean.” – – – – – Giovanni Marchini Camia, The Film Stage

“Yet while the film is compelling enough as an unsentimental portrait of social decay in southern Italy, it lacks the muscularity and visceral jolt of Garrone’s earlier work. Marcello’s sympathetic putz schtick wears thin after a while (although Fonte works wonders with the material), and there’s a sense of shrugging inevitability about the symbolic act of retribution that closes out the film.” – – – – – Adam Woodward, Little White Lies


Palme Dog surely? You think I am joking. Of course, Matteo Garrone has brought vibrancy and riches to the Cannes Film Festival many times. The last venture was with the exuberant Tale of Tales, which did not win anything. Previous efforts Gomorrah and Reality did however. Garrone brings with him then a heavy weight of expectation with Dogman.

I would say he has succeeded. The reception of the film, the director and the actors was a sight to behold. Main man Marcello Fonte is a strong contender for the Best Actor prize surely, a kind of Roberto Begnigni presence off screen (who is at the festival I might add), and praised highly for his performance. So its Fonte or bust.


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