#SHORTVIEW – “Dog” by Vladimir Petev

Synopsis:

Two strangers have to spend a day together. One is Boyan – a bruised eye man in his thirties trying to receive a fee he badly needs. The other is Albena – a detached middle aged woman who is responsible for the payment. Suddenly, the woman’s dog will turn out to be very sick.


THE TROLLEY IS JUST A TROLLEY


> One of the main themes in your film is our gaze on the ‘stranger’, or how we perceive those that we don’t know. Why did this attract you?

It’s funny, but people are more open to the idea of being honest with a stranger than with someone they really know. After all, with those close to us, there are some things you have trouble to say, because it will stay in your relationship forever; but with a stranger, it’s not much of a risk. To me, this is an interesting paradox.

I think it all comes down to how we perceive each other. In my film, I tried to portray this constant process of analyzing each other, watching each other, but doing so through a glass, though a distance. The two characters are very few times together, say, in a single shot. Nevertheless, they are forced to be together in this space, in this process, all the while knowing that this is not going to stick, that they are not going to meet every Sunday for a café or anything like that afterwards.

> There are many moments of silence along the film, especially when the characters are alone. Why did you choose silence over words?

I wanted to show that, to tell the truth, it’s not necessary to speak. Sometimes, it’s enough to have a quiet moment of appreciation and humility. I really insisted in silence because it does not necessarily gives comfort, but only company. Sometimes, we don’t really understand what’s going on with those around us; we pretend that we do, but we don’t. And that’s okay.

> There has been some confusion regarding the final scene, and the trolley.

It’s important to understand that the trolley is just a trolley. There’s no hidden message behind it; but we still try to find it, because, during the film, we don’t really get many details about this guy and his personal life. We don’t really know if he has a baby, or he is expecting one, or maybe he is buying the trolley for someone else.

It’s funny how it all looks incredible from the outside. For example, imagine this guy going home after all this with the trolley and saying to his wife “do you know what happened to me today? I went to talk to a woman, then I buried her dog, then we went to a bank, etc”. If you sit at the end of the day and think of everything from a distance, life is quite interesting and unexpected.

> Why did you choose to tell this story through a short movie?

I think that some stories lend themselves better to short films. It’s very important in short film that the story itself is for a short film. Sometimes you see short films that could be an epic that lasted three hours, and that’s bad, because then you cannot really develop the idea into something else, half an hour is fine.

> What do you think about the current craze on using smartphones to record short films?

I think that this kind of technology is quite natural now. When I first heard about how digital cameras were gonna take over film, there was this reaction of “omg, these people will destroy cinema”, which it’s been demonstrated to be bullshit by now. Cinema has always evolved over time, and has always followed technical progress.

One good thing about this is that everyone can make something. But the worst thing about it is that everybody can – which means, there’s no individuality. How do you differentiate yourself, when you’re forced to do what everyone else is doing?

Ultimately, I believe that the story itself should tell you which medium to use to tell it – if I’m going to make a film about a 18th-century costume party, for example, I’m not going to use a telephone to shot it. Also, I think it’s interesting to have in mind that the people already have some expectations about the different mediums which is also a problem. But I think that as long as these mediums adapt themselves to the stories, as long as it’s a conscious choice because it’s cheap, I think it’s normal. Aesthetics are changing. It’s inevitable.


At the point of the interview, Vladimir declared his interest in making another short film about the “digital image”, and how it affects our daily lives and perceptions of each other.