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Sydney, ex-principal breadwinner for an ex-thriving family finds himself in the pre-dawn woods with an ex-dog in his hands. As he wanders around in the dark, literally and metaphorically, his memory unfurls a series of first world misfortunes that have befallen him of late, alongside more serious concerns about the health of his daughter and the state of his marital relationship, which seems to be no more alive than the lifeless pet in his hands. However, what seems to be like a good moment for reckoning turns out to be Syd’s life-hack plot to continue denying reality and avoid taking responsibility, while attempting to save dignity in front of his daughter when everything else is lost.
Director Biography – Vera Graziadei
Vera Graziadei is an actor, writer, director, producer and poet. A graduate of London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), she’s worked as an actor in feature films, TV, theatre and radio, in the UK and internationally since 2006. She’s mostly recognised for her regular role in UK cult sitcom Peep Show. She’s the founder of Luminous Arts Productions and recently co-produced and acted in The Book of Vision, starring Charles Dance and Lotte Verbeek and executively produced by Terrence Malick. The film opened the 2020 Venice Film Festival’s Critics Week and Warsaw International Film Festival and is now going around the festival circuit. She’s the writer and director of an award-winning short film A Map of the World, poetry film The Silence of I Am and dark comedy In The Woods with a Dead Dog. http://www.veragraziadei.art
As a fan of dark comedy, especially Coen Brothers’ movies, I was attracted to Michel Faber’s short story In The Woods with a Dead Dog, not only because of the unique darkly comic atmosphere and alarmingly-relatable characters, but also because of how brilliantly it presents capitalist patriarchy in crisis, while masquerading as a simple family drama.
Using a light comic touch, I wanted to present this story to outline how denialism, addictions and distractedness are often at the core of why nothing gets done about pressing issues we are facing as humanity. When everything is in crisis and is falling apart, humans often choose to try carry on business as usual until a disaster strikes.
Also the story acts as a poignant reminder of how toxic traditional gender expectations are and that females that embrace patriarchal ideals are as much to blame for upholding patriarchy as the men in power. Also it reminds us that the hope lies with the youth, as the girl in the film is the only person who becomes aware that the dog may not be feeling well. However, if we lie to ourselves and our children that ‘everything is going to be all right’, while changing nothing and sticking to our usual ways, then all we can expect is more disaster.
I feel very fortunate to have worked with such talented actors and creatives, hailing from the UK, USA, Ireland, Spain and Iceland, who helped me bring my vision to life. I feel proud of us all creating a short dark comedy, which is as poignant as it is entertaining. Perhaps when we laugh, we can allow the truth to slip into our consciousness in a gentle way: everything might not be alright after all. Unless we take responsibility and do something about the problems we are facing.