This Darling Life



Hong Kong Filmart

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 on 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. Certain shots of a dog that got severely abused can be very upsetting to animal lovers.

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

Angie Chan puts together quite 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 farmed 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. The most memorable scenes are long shots of a homeless man who never talks to humans but has deep rapport with his dog.

The director explores her own feelings about her 15-year-old four-legged companion Baby's impending death, which segues into conversations with her brother about their estrangement with their father, interspersed with home-movie footage of his life with his Caucasian partner. The project underlines her quest to find the capacity in herself to forgive her father through witnessing unconditional love from Baby.

Scorpio Films Prod.
Sales Agent: Golden Scene Co. Ltd.
Director, co-producer: Angie Chen
Co-producer Pamela Lay
Music: Ellen Joyce Loo, Wilson Tsang
Running time -- 80 minutes
No MPAA rating