My Dog Tulip

This gently episodic film by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger manages to say more about man’s relationship with dogs in a single, lush frame than ‘Marley and Me’ would if it were to run on a loop until the end of time.

It’s attentively adapted from a memoir by the late British wit JR Ackerley, which offers – in infinitesimal detail – the mucus-slathered trials of life with his fusty Alsatian bitch, Tulip, in 1950s Putney. Ackerley’s bone-dry prose is the epitome of self-flagellating, post-war Englishness, recalling at once the instructional irony of George Orwell’s essays and the arch, self-effacing out-loud-thoughts of Alan Bennett.

Much of the film deals with matters of a scatological or sexual nature, as Ackerley is unflinching in his assertion that to psychoanalyse an animal, we must recognise all its different ways of communicating. The narration, intoned with phlegmy precision by Christopher Plummer, lends the film an old-fashioned, worn-in quality which perfectly chimes with the knowingly shabby art direction.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday May 6 2011
Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Paul Fierlinger, Sandra Fierlinger
Screenwriter: Paul Fierlinger, Sandra Fierlinger
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