Dogs of Democracy 2016
Distributed by epf media, 324 S. Beverly Drive, PMB 437, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310-839-1500
Directed by Mary Zournazi
DVD, color, 88 min.
Activism, Animal Welfare, Democracy, Global Issues, Homelessness, Immigration, Politics, Poverty, Protest Movements
Date Entered: 04/19/2018Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
While the numbers vary, it is estimated there are between 1-3 million stray dogs in Greece. At the time of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, an attempt to reduce their number was only partially successful. Since then, Greece has undergone a series of economic and political crises that, among other things, brought the strays back to the streets. What is remarkable about these dogs is their participation in the daily life of the city and the care and consideration given to them by Athenian residents. When the Australian filmmaker travels to Greece to explore her family roots, she encounters some of these dogs and briefly interviews a few of the people who care for them, many of who are homeless themselves. Additionally, Zournazi profiles Loukanikos, an Athenian stray dog who daily appeared on the front lines of 2014 rioting and became a symbol for Greece, seen by many as the impoverished 'stray dog of Europe.' Finally, a trip to the picturesque island of Lesvos brings the director face to face with the flood of similarly abandoned refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Although this modest film has some issues with sound quality and editing, the overall effect captures the presence, vulnerability, and dignity of the people and animals where democracy began.