Thursday, May 7, 2020


This review originally written for The Oregonian.

Stray Dogs, the 2013 film from Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang (Good Bye, Dragon Inn), is a heartbreaking work about struggle and human connections.

The story follows a family of three--father, son and daughter--getting by as best they can. Dad's alcoholism has put them on the streets.

A lonely grocery store clerk who regularly feeds the neighborhood's homeless canines meets the children in her store. They tug at her sense of charity.

Ming-liang's patient filmmaking avoids expositional narrative. In Stray Dogs, the silent scenes say more than the sparse dialogue.

The movie is at once beautiful and entrancing, ending with a staggering scene of loneliness and warmth. The stillness of those final moments is emotionally devastating, yet incredibly rewarding.

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