LFF 2020: ‘Stray’ – Film Review – THN

A review of the documentary ‘;Stray’, playing as part of the BFI’s London Film Festival 2020.

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View the streets of Istanbul through the eyes of some of its many stray dogs in Elizabeth Lo’s sweet and graceful debut documentary. 

While the stray dogs of Istanbul were once met with violence and hostility, it nis now illegal to cause harm to them. As a result, they roam the streets in large numbers, with well over 100,000 dogs roaming around, making the city their own proverbial playground. This documentary focuses on one of these street wise strays, the strong willed Zeytin. Through her eyes, we see both aggression, compassion, and echoes of her own experience in the people around her who make up the population of Istanbul. 

With the camera never leaving the level of a dog’s eye perspective, Lo invites you into the city from a point of view that establishes itself as just another pair of canine eyes roaming the streets. This remains the style throughout, only once choosing to shake things up by going for the more direct approach of attaching a Go-Pro to an actual dog. Apart from this moment, which very much feels like the filmmakers trying something out just to see how it looks, the film feels unobtrusive in its approach, inviting you into the city in a calm and approachable manner. 

Full review over at THN, originally published October 8th 2020.

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