Now that the holiday season is underway, it’s a good time to curl up on the couch and watch a warm and fuzzy film or two. In the Fall 2020 semester, Kylo-Patrick Hart, department chair and professor of film, television and digital media, taught FTDM 40440 Topics in Film, specifically about dogs on film. His course explored the representation of dogs (in relation to other kinds of animals) in cinema, from the birth of the medium to the present day. Dr. Hart recommends watching the following five movies about man’s best friend:
A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
What is the meaning of life for a dog? This heartwarming film wrestles with that existential question and others as it follows one dog’s soul being reincarnated in various breeds over the course of five decades.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Based on actual events, this moving story—which begins and ends in the holiday season—explores the intense bond of loyalty between a professor and his devoted Akita that lasts long after the man’s untimely passing. If you choose to watch only one dog movie this holiday season, this should be the one!
Turner & Hooch (1989)
When a Dogue de Bordeaux is the only witness to a murder, he moves in with the investigator who is working to solve the crime. The only problem? The uptight cop has no idea how to live with a huge, untrained, slobbering sidekick.
Umberto D. (1952)
Like foreign films with English subtitles? Then this masterpiece of Italian neorealist filmmaking, about the bond between a man and his devoted mutt in postwar Italy, promises a fulfilling viewing experience with a powerful message about the importance of friendship in its various forms.
Wendy and Lucy (2008)
In this touching tale of an individual who has fallen on hard times, a young woman’s mixed-breed canine companion goes missing in Oregon. Before all is said and done, she is forced to make a life-changing decision that (hopefully) is in the best interests of both.