Exclusive Review – Historias con Pulgas: La Realidad del Perro Chileno

Historias con Pulgas: La Realidad del Perro Chileno
Release Date
Thomas Hartung & Thommy Morais
Directors / Producers / Editors

Dogs have always been a used icon all over the audiovisual history. Beloved stars like Scooby-Doo, Lassie or Marley (to name a few popular examples) demonstrate that the canine figure could always bring out tears of joy or sadness from almost anyone. In the case of Thomas Hartung and his dog Popi; the tears come not from the viewers, but from the people he interviews and the dogs he finds along his path; leaving us with a valuable and shocking truth about the world we live in.

This feature documentary is a great achievement that stands on the shoulders of three fundamental pillars. The very first one would be our narrator Thomas Morais and his dog Popi. Throughout this experience, the audience follows the trail he leaves as they travel the country of Chile; interviewing a selection of people and more importantly capturing footage of every dog that crosses their way. Thomas makes an outstanding narrative decision by presenting himself as a man with a purpose. Evenmore so, he escalates that purpose by stating that it is thanks to his very own rescued companion Popi that he was able to find that purpose and turn it into a realistic mission. The mission is to raise awareness of the situation millions of dogs are living in and evoke a call to action from everyone that sees the images he worked so hard to capture. 

Those images we witness are what pillars two and three are made of. The second pillar is composed of kind people that share their stories with the camera. Stories that see human selfishness and evilness as a source of struggle, sadness and frustration that hurts those willing to give affection above all else, dogs. Interviews with veterinarians, shelter owners and many other individuals, help explain the tragic landscape we face but also try to lead towards a thin silver lining in which humans can provide an improvement by taking responsibility and care into their own hands without making it their full time jobs. 

“We should, it seems to me, help… help with anything, with a little, with a lot, with whatever.”

These people and Thomas himself wouldn’t be really effective without the third pillar; the dogs. There is no use in describing with mere words what the production crew was able to capture during this journey. The impact is definitely one that cannot be shrugged off easily and this is a big compliment. The film finds a way to not be distasteful while carrying the message across to the viewers within the first minutes of the film. I found it remarkable to see Federico Salama’s testimony, as he explained how sad he felt while working as a cameraman for the project. The fact that those words he spoke in front of the camera were incorporated into the final cut of this movie should be understood as the most important declaration this documentary has to say: we do not enjoy this but we find it necessary. 

In the end, this documentary manages to put us as viewers in an uncomfortable position only to then motivate us to stand up for ourselves and act. I should mention the fact that these three pillars could be united a bit more fluidly if the editing job had been refined a bit more. Yet the fact still remains, a stellar cause has been portrayed through film effectively and as a result we must celebrate this success and remember its message the next time a dog steps into our lives.   

Exclusive Review – Historias con Pulgas: La Realidad del Perro Chileno
“Historias con Pulgas” brings forth a one sided point of view on the abandonment that dogs from Chile and the world go through every day. Even though it might not be glamorous, it compensates for it with an intimate and inspiring story of a journalist that was open enough for a stray dog to change his life. The entertainment industry needs to welcome this type of cinematic effort into its circuit as soon as possible, everyone will be grateful, especially dogs.
Brings an important issue into the light without feeling distasteful or disrespectful.
The documentary may feel just a bit long but its narrative is worth your while.

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