Who let the dogs out – at Genesis cinema? For our last event of the year, PASSENGERFILMS is hosting an evening of films and discussion around the violence of domestication, animal uprising, and types of nature muzzled and unmuzzled, ruled and overruled.
Sylwia Gawel’s Polish animation Udomowienie / Domestication (2015) shows a particular dependence between a man and the exotic reptiles he owns. In a flat cluttered with aquariums, he attentively looks after his animals, yet strictly controls their behavior – until a small caiman he brings home disturbs this harmony forever. Brad McGann’s notorious short Possum (1997) places an element of the wild within the home, with a feral girl imitating the noises of wild animals, viciously biting family members, and chained to her bed at night – until her brother sets her loose. Whilst the father, a trapper, attempts to master the land, he is unable to control his daughter, an “animal” that is disrupting the family home.
Our feature film is White God (2014). Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, this searing political fable follows the mixed-breed dog Hagen and his 13 year old guardian Lili when, due to a harsh “mongrel” fine imposed by the Hungarian government, Hagen is abandoned and subsequently leads a canine revolt across the city against his human subjugators. From the introduction of an unruly alligator to the regulated spaces of a private animal collection, to the myths of colonization on the New Zealand frontier, to the “beastly spaces” of Budapest streets overrun by a pack of four-legged rebels (in all live-action dog acting), these films explore the many ways human mastery is unsettled – and unsettling.
The films will be followed by a panel discussion in the Genesis bar with Anat Pick, Phil Howell, and Jennifer Adlem. Dr. Anat Pick is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, editor of Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (2013), and author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film(2011), on the more-than-human dimensions of ethics and the marking of vulnerability across species boundaries; her latest book, Maureen (2016), is a creative nonfiction that explores the commonalities between institutionalized humans and institutionalized animals. Dr. Philip Howell is Senior Lecturer in Geography at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, specializing in geographies of regulating gender and sexuality in the city, as well as the ‘animal turn’ in human geography and literary geography. He’s the author of At Home and Astray: The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain (2015), which explores historical transformations in the role of the dog in bourgeois homes and the mean streets of London – and how dogs were increasingly policed out of public space. The historian Jennifer Adlem is completing a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, on canine psychopathology and types of madness and love in the bond between human and dog.
TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER / DOORS 6:30PM, START 7PM/ GENESIS CINEMA, 93-95 MILE END RD, E1 4UJ / £5 TICKETS (info coming soon)