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Ghost Canyon

'Dogs Of Democracy'
(Loukanikos, Yanis Varoufakis, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Dogs of Democracy' is a documentary about the stray dogs of Athens and the people who take care of them. Filmmaker Mary Zournazi explores life on the streets through the eyes of the dogs and peoples' experience.

DVD Verdict: Shot on location in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, the documentary is about how Greece has become the 'stray dogs of Europe', and how the dogs have become a symbol of hope for the people and for the anti-austerity movement.

A universal story about love and loyalty and what we might learn from animals. 'Dogs Of Democracy' is one of the most heartwarming documentaries that I've seen in many a decade. Sure, yes, I'm a dog lover and former owner, but wow, this is just a pure delight to behold from start to finish.

For Zournazi, Greece has become ‘the stray dog of Europe’: the dogs have become a symbol of hope for the people and for the anti-austerity movement. Coming from a Greek family living in Australia, Mary Zournazi made her first visit to Athens in 2014.

She is the author of several books including Hope: New philosophies for change and Inventing Peace with the German filmmaker Wim Wenders. She also teaches in the sociology program at the University of New South Wales.

'Dogs of Democracy' skillfully uses visual metaphors and unexpected twists to explore the culture of contemporary Greece. Zournazi's film begins by acquainting us with the stray dogs of Athens. We see them fed irregularly by various persons, including Greeks who are themselves being fed by social agencies.

The dogs are seen wandering about, visible yet “not seen.” In a very subtle manner the images of the stray dogs and their experiences merge with the lives of Athenians struggling through the (economic) crisis. The camera doesn’t plead for them or depict them as helpless. It just shows the prevailing patterns of everyday life.

Midway through the 57 minute film, a middle-aged man states, “We are the stray dogs of Europe.” In short, Greece is visible to Europe, but “not seen.” Politically without even showcasing a visual aspect that suggests the fact was even close to being the lead subject. Smart. Very smart and very dynamic.

WINNER! Spirit of Activism Award, Nevada Women's Film Festival, March 2017
WINNER! Best Documentary Feature, 2017 Imagine This: Women's International Film Festival, Brooklyn, New York
WINNER! Directors' Choice Award, 2017 Social Justice Film Festival, USA

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.