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Garrone's Dogman shows flair for gangster movies

media Still from 'Dogman' Italian director Matteo Garrone's film in the 2018 Cannes International Film Festival al competition Matteo Garrone/Nicolaj Brüel

49 year-old director Matteo Garrone instills drops of humour and a striking character for his latest feature Dogman a kind of  David and Goliathin an urban Italian Western where movie-friendly poodles and pitbulls manage not to upstage the humans.


The newer Italian cinema maintains the directors stamp of dark comedy, and pundits reckon he is one of the favourites for the 2018 Golden Palm award.

If you treat them well they won’t bite, says Italian auteur Garrone of his Golden Palm entry Dogman.

Marcello Fonte who plays Marcello seems contented with his life, with his dog-parlour, dogs, local friends and small daughter, Ali. They all live in a sleepy rundown Italian seaside resort.

Garrone’s setting recalls Fellini’s Rimini, but also Antonioni’s industrial northern Italy.

The real blot on the landscape is beefy bully gangster and drug addict Simone played by Edoardo Pesce. His pastime - apart from sniffing cok - is robbery, threatening people, getting into fights and throwing his weight around.But Simone goes two steps too far with animal-lover Marcello.

Marcello takes the rap for Simone who carries out a heist using Marcello as an unwilling accomplice whether out of fear of reprisals or out of principle. Marcello, Simone’s onetime faithful pet, turns on him.

In Garrone’s Dogman, the simple but tight plot and the action take the lead, right up to the final double twist.

After sumptuous Tale of Tales in 2015, and the two Jury special prize winners, Gomorra (2008) and Reality (2012), the Italian director’s fourth Cannes Palm entry offers another well-paced and gripping sequence of events, with credible yet dramatic characters, with a kick. Or a bite.

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