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Slamdance 2020: Beware of Dog Review: Intimate tale of coping spans the globe

‘Beware of Dog’ is an ambitious take on coping with mental health.

Film has never been afraid to look at mental health issues. Movies have effectively dealt with paranoia, depression, and anger. These stories have tended to be very centralized. This is understandable since they have dealt with one character in order to focus on the issue. Director Nadia Bedzhanova’ Beware of Dog is a more ambitious take on coping with mental health.

Marina is a graduate student in Moscow living with obsessive compulsive disorder. Her cousin Paula who lives in Berlin has begun a new relationship that seems to have changed her life. Mike is a former boxer who lives in New York and is attempting to move on. The three stories are connected by political turmoil all over the world.

Beware of Dog is an intelligently shot film. Taking three different characters from three of the busiest and most distinct urban areas in the world is a daunting task. Bedzhdanova uses technology to connect Moscow, Berlin, and New York. Through text messages and social media, the stories are brought together. This not only does a great job of tying the stories together it shows off how we live in an increasingly shrinking world.

Films with a similar structure tend to place each story into a silo. There are isolated from each other making the whole endeavor feel disjointed. That is not the case with Beware of Dog. The three stories effortlessly weave into each other. Though they are only tangentially connected, they do not feel like separate segments. It is one movie with the distinct characters and stories. 

One way Bedzhanova does this is through her brilliant direction. Along with using social media, Bedzhanova shoots the three cities gorgeously. The architectural beauty of Moscow and Russia is shown off while the urban sprawl of New York City is made to look intimate. Marina, Paula, and Mike live in different parts of world, but the direction closes the distance giving the movie a surprising intimacy.

Beware of Dog is a beautifully written movie. This is more than a story about three characters with their problems. They are each people the audience will care about. There is a sadness to all of them as they struggle to live their lives. At times it is difficult to watch, but the film is impossible to turn away from. The stories move past showing and progress into the realm of discussion.

The three lives are tied together by political turmoil from around the world. Bedzhanova shows how changes in the world affect people. Beware of Dog shows the anxiety and fear that is felt. It is an interesting way to show how deeply involved with the world people are. More than a political statement, the film highlights the uncertainty that adds to mental health issues.

Beware of Dog is a beautiful and poignant movie. Director Nadia Bedzhanova ties together three distinct stories to show the common bonds in our lives. Using technology and social unrest, the stories examine OCD, bi polar disorder, and addiction. It also showcases loneliness and acceptance in a moving way everyone will be able to relate with.

Is it good?
Using three characters, the movie examines mental issues examines mental health issues. Beautiful and touching.
The stories - especially Marina's - are beautiful
Ending gives a satisfying sense of closure that does not understate the issues
Magnificent camera work
Use of technology ties together story and highlights changes in the world
Some may feel supporting characters are not given enough depth

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