This Darling Life

Bottom line: A documentary that explores pet relationships in psychological and philosophical dimensions.

Constant, compassionate, forgiving, trustworthy, inspiring love and spirituality. Who else is like that except God? This touching documentary will give you the answer -- dogs. Angie Chen explores 10 relationships between dog owners and their furry friends, but this is not a cutesy film inviting you to coo over pedigree poodles or cheeky Chihuahuas.

The subjects reminisce about how they felt when their dogs died or got sick, prompting one to contemplate life, death, love and loss. Chen infuses the film with her own subjective and poetic images of Hong Kong, making it both meditative and confessional.

Dog lovers will eagerly sniff out this film and children will also warm to it. In fact, the director's intense passion and the rich back story to each dog's life could be of interest to a general audience, provided they don't find the focus on death, pain and parting too morbid.

"This Darling Life" has great TV broadcast potential. Small domestic release also looks likely.

Chen puts together a broad spectrum of subjects, from Hong Kong band Beyond singer Paul Wong who admits to showing his sweetest side to his fish and dogs, to two people who put all their income and free time into operating their private dog shelters. Some share common memories of a traumatic childhood, familial or romantic discord, or anxieties about existence, which prompts them to seek emotional fulfillment from animals.