Fierlingers’ Dog Tulip

August 29, 2010 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

I’m a huge fan of Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. Their Still Life With Animated Dogs is not only one of the most captivating animated shorts ever made, it also presents an utterly brilliant commentary on modern life with dogs.

The Fierlingers’ long-awaited (at least by me) animated feature My Dog Tulip will be released by New Yorker Films this week. The film is based on J. R. Ackerley’s 1956 book about his sixteen year love affair with a German shepherd named Tulip. Parent please note, this animated feature was created for adults not children.

According to the film’s website:

A profound and subtle mediation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships, My Dog Tulip was written, directed and animated by award-winning filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger and is the first animated feature ever to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology.

It features the voices of Christopher Plummer as Ackerley, Lynn Redgrave (who died earlier this year) as his annoying sister and Isabella Rossellini as Tulip’s veterinarian.

I haven’t read the book – yet. But according to the book review:

In 1947, J.R. Ackerley rescued an 18-month-old German shepherd, and from the start her every look and move were to undo him. “Tulip never let me down. She is nothing if not consistent. She knows where to draw the line, and it is always in the same place, a circle around us both. Indeed, she is a good girl, but–and this is the point–she would not care for it to be generally known.” As he anatomizes her from head to toe with the awe-struck precision of a medieval courtier, Ackerley instantly turns us into Tulipomanes. Alas, many of the mere mortals she encounters feel differently, for there are indeed two Tulips. One is highly strung but heroic, flirtatious but true. The other is a four-legged rejoinder to authority: a biter, a barker, and a dab hand at defecating her way around London. Not that any of these are her fault. “You’re the trouble,” Tulip’s one good vet tells Ackerley as she banishes him from the surgery. “She’s in love with you, that’s obvious. And so life’s full of worries for her.”

I’m not generally a fan of movies glorifying bad dogs (this is why the book is still on my ‘to be read’ pile) – but I’m certain that the Fierlingers’ lyrical animation, their brilliant observations on men, women, dogs and the weird and wonderful ways our lives intersect will make this film one you don’t want to miss.

Here’s the trailer:


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