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Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
A true story of faith, devotion and undying love.
Director: Lasse Hallström

A drama based on the true story of a college professor's bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

Multiple Watchers

I don’t know the original Japanese film on which this is based, but of course I do know the real life story.

I watched this with 3 and ten year olds, and watched them squirm with the slow, very slow pacing. I found it not very nourishing myself, and am surprised that it is in the top 200 on IMDb. But it is well made and one element struck me as interesting.

The challenge in telling the story is that the basic elements are not cinematic: a dog is loyal after death, standing by the railway station waiting for his master. There are some incidental family and professional qualities that slightly bear on the story.

To bring the story to a cinematic vocabulary, you need to introduce a host of on screen watchers. We have all manner of watchers here: the railway station has three: the stationmaster, a street food vendor and a nearby bookseller. This forms the first tier. We have a Japanese professor friend who is more informed and wise, who watches from afar.

But then we have all sorts of novel embellishments on the watching theme. Our main guy is a professor of art, someone who pre-watches performances and whose death is watched by students. His wife is engaged in the restoration of a watching venue, with the further embellishment of revealing lost watchers of the watchers (murals in a theater). And then we have the rather odd POV segments from the dog, designating him as a watcher.

The narrative drive here is weak, I think. But the narrative construction is amazingly well considered.

Posted in 2015

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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