From the mafia in Gomorra (2008) to fairy tales in Il racconto dei racconti (Tale of Tales, 2015), Matteo Garrone will try his hand at anything. Navigating between realism and fantasy, the filmmaker has no qualms about mixing genres, so it's no surprise to see him juggle the allegory of Il racconto dei racconti with the hyperrealism of Dogman, an explosion of a bestial revenge resulting from an unusual friendship. In this remote suburb of Rome where the law of the strongest prevails, the connection between Marcello, a small and gentle dog groomer and Simoncino, a violent boxer released from prison, leads to tragedy.
Dogman, a bitch of a life in the Rome suburbs
For his fourth film in Competition, Italian director and two-time winner of the Grand Jury Prize (Reality, 2012, and Gomorra (Gomorrah) in 2008) Matteo Garrone transfigures a brutal event that sent shockwaves across 1980s Italy. The story of Dogman is based on the cruel relationship between the two protagonists, a man who loses his innocence and a godless and lawless prisoner in a bleak suburb of Rome.
Matteo Garrone gently kneads this real-life drama from 1988, then lets the tension rise, to achieve a subtle reinterpretation that is more restrained than the actual event, from which he keeps his distance. Regardless of the violence of the subject matter, the film places us, according to the filmmaker, "face to face with something that concerns us all" and addresses " the consequences of the daily choices we make to survive, the gap between what we are and what we believe ourselves to be".
After the international cast of Il racconto dei racconti, this time Matteo Garrone goes back to his roots, casting all-Italian performers, including Marcello Fonte with his old-style look (Marcello), and the powerful actor Edoardo Pesce (Simoncino), who starred in Sergio Castellitto's Fortunata in 2017. The film marks both actors' first collaboration with the director. The film is set for release in French cinemas on 11 July.