CUFF Review: 'Los Reyes' Tells a True-Life Shaggy Dog Tale That'll Warm Hearts Directed by Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff
Starring Chola and Football
Published Dec 04, 2019In looking at Los Reyes, a story of a couple of strays, it's tough not to think about the lived conditions of capitalism. People keep moving, trusting the system enough not to throw themselves on the gears each day, trusting everyone to follow their own trajectories until someone says otherwise.
This documentary follows a pair of dogs, Chola and Football, who live at a Chilean skatepark. The film doesn't shy away from any aspects of their lives, following them with unobtrusive, uneasy questioning without ever approaching a call to action.
They're a pair of medium-sized, black dogs, friendly and vocal. Their favourite bit is to take a ball, any ball, to the edge of the bowl, set it there and then nudge it over. As far as dog tricks goes, it's a good one. They're there in the rain and in the sun, soaked and panting, fed and playful, drained and fly-ridden.
The filmmakers are strict in their observational style. When one of the pair finds another dog to be amorous with, the camera seems even farther off, a gesture at giving the dogs some privacy. What they collect from these finds the passage of time in these days lightly marked with incident, along with the personality and character of their two subjects.
Along with that, the dogs are unwitting observers to everything happening at the skatepark. A setup repeated throughout is conversations recorded at the park without ever seeing the speakers on camera, just voices drifting through the space.
In one of these overheard dialogues, a speaker says a family member called them a "fuckin' dog." That's as close as Los Reyes ever gets to drawing a direct analogy between the treatment of these dogs and any people. The film doesn't want to imagine the dogs as metaphor. Instead, the filmmakers are invested in the lived experience of these two and their unexpected lives.