864. The Black Dog’s Progress – Stephen Irwin


SUMMARY: The story of the black dog, an unwanted pet who is tossed out by his owner and encounters a world of horrendous cruelty.

WHY IT’S HERE: It’s fair to say that ‘The Black Dog’s Progress’ is not a film for everyone. It’s story is relentlessly bleak and upsetting, as the titular black dog is rejected by his would-be owner and then subjected to every form of cruelty imaginable in a harsh world in which he finds himself alone. What makes this dark little film so memorable, however, is the technique employed by its director Stephen Irwin, who created over fifty flipbooks of simple, splodgy and disturbing images and which are used to build up a large jigsaw of a story on screen. Some images repeat over and over, while others change as the dog progresses through them. Ultimately, the effect is overwhelming and the viewer has to concentrate and pick their way through the narrative even as the repetition of previous encounters reflect their cumulatively haunting effect on the dog. As if the style and content weren’t challenging enough, ‘The Black Dog’s Progress’ also adds a mini-masterpiece of a score by Danish multi-instrumentalist Sorenious Bonk that is mesmerizingly discordant and terrifyingly evocative. Although it leaves one feeling dirty and disillusioned, ‘The Black Dog’s Progress’ is somehow an experience that keeps you coming back for more.


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