Producer & Videographer: Leslye Abbey/Snowflake Productions Directed By: David Patrick & Leslye Abbey Edited By: Michael Zombro/Aerolith/Diaspora Studios Narrated By: Diane Corrado
Ever sit down and ponder how many parallel universes are going on all over the planet simultaneously? You could sit at a busstop with five people and though you’re all sharing that space for a brief time, the interests, passions and realities each person subscribes to may have very little to do with any of the others. After viewingCaution: Show Dogs, you may feel as it you’ve been transported to a world dimensions away, but you certainly will return from the journey with a whole new concept of sensibilities.
Billed as a “Dogumentary” and opening in select theatres on the Island this month, Caution: Show Dogs is the fruit of videographer Leslye Abbey’s obvious love for dogs, competitive shows and unusual people. Co-directing with David Patrick, Abbey shows a knack for keeping a documentary moving, neatly assembling a lot of amusing and idiosyncratic profiles of individuals who define themselves through unique dogs. Editor Michael Zamboro does a stellar job of slicing and splicing to keep the piece rolling nicely. What will no doubt make it a little more interesting to Islanders is that the show people in the spotlight here are from our backyard.
For those of you who caught Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s brilliant 2001 film, Best In Show, a superb goof on the subject of elite Dog Shows and the people and pets that make them what they are, Caution will serve to remind you just how letter-perfect Guest’s spoof was. For those unfamiliar with Guest’s riotously funny send-up (He’s currently basking in the glow of A Mighty Wind), Caution will provide a relentless parade of laughs as well…some intentional, some just the bi-product of unusual personalities that can’t control their obsessions. The wide variety of show dogs are sometimes beautiful, sometimes magnetically unusual and, in the case of the puppies, terrific fun. Abbey doesn’t miss an opportunity to capture the dogs doing their things, using her sharp eye to catalogue everything from the dogs in performance to behind-the-scenes insights like breeding and training. The film will function equally well for the devoted fan of this world and the passing, uninformed fancy that wants to learn.
What really makes the picture, however, are the people who devote their lives to their animals, from a woman who wants to be buried with the ashes of her dogs that have passed before her to recollections of people that have been in the shows for years. There are plenty of funny moments, ranging from the intentional (A person who’s not shy about talking about a judge they resent) to the unintentional (A dog that won’t stop growling throughout an interview). There’s plenty of “quirky” running throughout.
With a fine musical score by Don Sands, who playfully soundtracks the mood, a cute theme song sung by Diane Corrado, distinguished recording artist and local radio personality (who also narrates with dynamic enthusiasm),
Caution: Show Dogs provides a lot of fun moments because it succeeds on a lot of different levels. Leslye Abbey has a nice touch for film-making and this should be another fine cog in an evolving career. For further information, you can visit them at snowflake.com. If you love animals or unusual people, Caution: Show Dogs will be the cat’s pajamas to you.
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