Barking Island

Colin Dayan in the Boston Review:

Dayan_36_4_dogs A sound of gulls, a sunlit port, human voices, barking dogs. In a city market, dogs are sitting, lying down, walking past. Dogs gather in the center of the screen. Night falls. A dog gives birth; she nurses her babies. A constable in sharp silhouette comes and looks on as, growling, she huddles over her young.

So begins Serge Avedikian’s fifteen-minute animated film Barking Island (originally Chienne d’histoire in French), which, in 2010, won the Palme d’Or as the best short film at Cannes. The images are paintings by Thomas Azuélos, made deep and weighty, contoured yet dissolving at the edges, almost palpable.

Once the music changes, the scene shifts to humans at a long table discussing how to eliminate the dogs. Newspapers announce that there are more than 60,000 dogs on the streets of Constantinople. The Turkish authorities appeal for an end to them. After exploring various options—gassing, incineration, turning corpses into meat for human consumption—offered by the Pasteur Institute in Paris and other European experts, the Turks decide to round the dogs up and abandon them on a deserted island in the Bosporus.

More here.