Best. Dog Show Movie. Ever.

February 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm 1 comment

I watched Bombon, El Perro on the Tivo last night. Part neo-realist art film and part road movie, this canine coming of age film is indeed a little gem.  

Bombon is the antithesis of  Best in Show, the mockumentary where caricaturizing the outrageous, dysfunctional people who are, all too often, attracted to the world of conformation dog shows was the main attraction.  There’s The World of Dog Shows — and there’s a world where dog shows happen.   Bombon is set in that second world, and it’s a far more interesting place than the one you’ll see next week in Westminster.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I should point out that I’m no fan of dog shows. Though I have shown dogs in conformation (mostly for other people), I’m pretty sure that when I bought my last dog I signed a contract that condemns me to those flaming tombs in the sixth circle of hell (home of the heretics!)  if I show him in conformation.)

But back to Bombon. The story is set in the beautifully sparse landscape of the Patagonian Steppe.  At first glance, the main characters in the film (Juan and the dog) are as spare and solemn as the landscape they travel in.  But that stillness is rooted in good-natured serenity rather than stoicism. This nicely sets off the quirky supporting characters in the film — or is it the other way around?

Bombon gives us a thoughtful look into the lives of those who exist at the margins of society. We watch as an unemployed 50-year old man and an unwanted  dog travel life’s road together. The story starts as Juan Villegas, known to his friends as Coco, loses his job at a remote gas station and becomes an unwelcome guest in his daughter’s house.

He looks for work and tries to make a living selling his hand-crafted knives, but finds no success at either. When he’s given a Dogo Argentino in return for helping a woman whose car broke down he has to choose between staying with his daughter or giving up the dog. He chooses the dog.

The dog changes Coco’s life. Because Bombon is such an imposing looking beast, Coco is offered work handling him as a guard dog.  Then a string of chance meetings leads Coco to a dog trainer who offers to go into business with him showing the dog and selling stud services. Though they are successful at first, complications arise.

I won’t tell you more.

                   Coco y Bombon

Coco y Bombon

You may be able to find the film again on the Sundance Channel. It’s also available on Amazon.


Entry filed under: bull breeds, dog training, dogs. Tags: .

An Error of Teutonic Proportions? Vicious Pibble Attack!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Audie's Gramma  |  February 5, 2009 at 2:38 am

    I added it to our Netflix queue — but it’s not yet available. I don’t think we get Sundance.

    I believe you had enough wine to not notice; that contract was in blood.

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