Remember Kedi, the documentary about the cats of Istanbul? At last the dogs have their day in Elizabeth Lo’s beautiful, poignant film, a portrait of Zeytin and two more street dogs who roam the Turkish city as if they own it. Perhaps in a sense they do: their status is protected by law, and judging by what we see here, most Turks take a benevolent view of their canine co-citizens. Using the micro camera technologies we are more accustomed to seeing in a David Attenborough wildlife special, Lo allows us to experience the streets the way these dogs do, nimbly, a couple of feet off the ground, and always alert to the textures of sound (admittedly, "smell-o-vision" would have been next level). Lo records subtle parallels between the mutts and a bunch of young glue-sniffers who hang out with them - Syrian refugees - without forfeiting the fleet economy and rhythm of her movie. "Human beings live artificially and hypocritically and would do well to study the dog," the Greek philosopher Diogenes noted a long time ago (his quotes are used as chapter breaks), and Stray is a wonderful place to start.
"Through a finely calibrated ebb and flow of insight and emotion, Lo offers a fresh perspective on life in the shadows — the freedom as well as the neglect — building toward an end-credits coda, a song from the heart, that’s not to be missed." Sherri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
"Gorgeous." Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"Compassionate and playful." Pat Mullen, POV magazine
Best International Feature Award, Hot Docs 20
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