Dogs Don't Wear Pants

  • 2019
  • Finland, Latvia
  • 1h 45min
  • Directed by: J.-P. Valkeapää
  • Cast: Pekka Strang, Krista Kosonen, Oona Airola
  • Language: Finnish

Juha (Strang) is a Finnish widow struggling with bereavement, while his teenage daughter Elli (Huhta) has her own sorrow; then he discovers BDSM, in the form of dominatrix Mona (Kosonen). Blacky comic, occasionally gross but sensitive portrait of human frailty, loneliness and loss with remarkable performances from Strang and Kosonen.

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One of Finland's most daring filmmakers, J-P Valkeapää is unpredictable in the best sense. His most recent film, a hit at Cannes last year, is fearless even by his standards, bringing together crippling remorse and absurdist comedy.

The film begins during a bucolic cottage sojourn for surgeon Juha (Pekka Strang), his wife, and their young daughter Elli. Tragedy strikes almost immediately, as Juha's wife drowns in a fishing net he had carelessly left out. Years later, Juha, still struggling to deal with his sadness and regret, is teetering on the brink of a complete breakdown.

“Things spiral out of control as Juha grows increasingly reckless…”

When the now-tween Elli (Iloni Huhta) orders him out of the piercing salon where she's getting a tongue stud, he stumbles into a dominatrix's studio next door, where he finds a salve for his guilt in the person of Mona (Krista Kosonen), a demanding mistress who is as eager to punish Juha as he is to be punished. Things spiral out of control as Juha grows increasingly reckless, even suicidal, and it becomes alarmingly clear that neither he nor Mona know how far they are willing to go.

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Reviews & features

Dogs Don't Wear Pants

27 Mar 20204 stars

Beautifully acted and blackly comic Finnish oddity from J-P Valkeapää, focusing on loneliness and loss

With its eccentric title and BDSM theme, this finely tuned Finnish oddity from director J-P Valkeapää pitches its tent proudly in the outsider camp. Blackly comic and periodically gross, for something so quirkily conceived, Dogs Don't Wear Pants is…

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