A Dog and His Man
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
A long, desolate night of the soul awaits Shoukie, the last resident of what used to be a village in Chhattisgarh. Having been served a final eviction notice, his dog his only companion, Shoukie’s exhaustion takes his mind between the present and the days when he could fish, see friends, and argue with his family about the coming coal-mining development. From his current vantage point, the entirety of their hometown is now a privatized location, coal dust hanging in the air, the landscape turned unreal by the arrival of machinery and industrial facilities.
This debut, from director Siddharth Tripathy is reportedly the product of a crisis of conscience. Formerly working as an officer serving eviction notices, Tripathy quit his job and found a village where a similar story was playing out, using non-actors to tell this story. There’s some of the inspiration of similarly focused films in here - Jia Zhangke or Pedro Costa may be conscious influences - but the end result is something quite different. Like its protagonist, this is a stubborn, solitary film.