Filmmakers in attendance.
Two dogs are at the center of director Dean Yamada’s second feature, ANJING (THE DOGS), which explores the yawning chasm between rich and poor in Indonesia. Yamada expands his exploration of the human condition in this follow-up to CICADA, which won our Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature in 2014.
The first dog, a lively yellow pup named Kaleng, is apparently a poor boy’s only friend. Their deep bond, established in an idyllic prologue, is severed after another boy’s family demands the equivalent of $70 for getting bitten by Kaleng. Unable to pay, the boy reluctantly lets Kaleng go, chasing him into the streets. The second dog is Kandi, a pomeranian belonging to an upper-middle class family that escapes after the housekeeper accidentally leaves the gate open. As family members scramble to find Kandi, one daughter tries to cover for her housekeeper, straining the family. Meanwhile, Kandi is scooped up by a struggling ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver, who wanted to impress his girlfriend with a fancy dog.
Once these dogs are set loose from their owners, ANJING’s interlocking narrative snaps into place, with an accident that ripples outward, affecting all the major characters. But despite its title, ANJING’s focus is less on the fate of either dog than on each family’s response. Without being overly schematic, ANJING sketches out a collision of two worlds where the rich glide right past any trouble while the poor is left holding the bag. In a tight 70 minutes, Yamada shows that, while our abiding love for our canine friends cuts across class boundaries, life is not so class-blind. —Ryan Wu
Director: Dean Yamada
Writer: Dean Yamada, Leilani T. Abad
Producer: Olivia Kamal
Executive Producer: Henry Riady
Cinematographer: Evan Schneider
Composer: Dana Niu
Sound Designer: Angela Kwan