Fair Fight – It’s a Dog Eat Anything World

Loyalty is an admirable quality in a person. However, we are frequently asked to split our loyalties, and as often as not, those splits can sometimes be for conflicting parties. A child of divorce, the work/family divide, or something as simple as two sets of friends. Sometimes, it’s not even a human being. As they say, a dog is a man’s best friend. And in “Fair Fight”, a man is a dog’s best friend too.

A young man has a dog. In their neighborhood, there is a gang boss who runs dogfights and not coincidentally is owed a not inconsiderable sum by the young man’s brother. We learn that this is not the first time he’s had to bail out his brother. It seems the only way out for the brother is to enter his dog into the ring. And here his loyalties are divided. His brother is obviously a chronic gambler, and even if he manages to clear his brother’s debt, who’s to say he won’t run it up again? And this time there will be nothing to get him out. At the same time, his dog is his best friend amidst the turmoil in his life. He is effectively placed in a kind of Sophie’s Choice, neither outcome will lead to anything good.

The film makes good use of some geometrical visuals to highlight the young man’s torn loyalties. And while, for obvious reasons, it does not show actual dog fighting, it gets the points across within the limitations of its production values.

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Tofu – A Boy and His Dog

There is a lot going on in “Tofu”. A young boy is attached to a puppy (named “Tofu”) that his father tells him he has to get rid of. This same boy is named after his uncle who was killed in a war. The day they choose to take the puppy to the pound happens to be Memorial Day, when they are on the way to a ceremony commemorating the same uncle. Along the way they make several stops, including at the grandmother’s home. If there is one thing this movie doesn’t lack, it’s plot lines. Perhaps it would have been better served by focusing the disparate leads into a more coherent through line, but that is neither here nor there. This is the movie that is.

However this movie is part of a long tradition of films where children bond with animals. The young boy does not say much, he is largely in his own world. A world of headphones and his dog. With the emotional weight of being named after a family member who died in service to his country, an overbearing father, and a seemingly indifferent older brother, it is little wonder that he retreats into his own world. Tofu, the dog, doesn’t demand anything of his owner that he isn’t willing to give. It remains to be seen if he will ultimately be able to part with his one beacon of stability.

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Brown Blue – Reach for the Skies

There is something exhilaratingly free about the open skies. From the biblical story of Babel to the Greek gods living on the heights of Mt. Olympus, from the early days of flight to the modern space race, humankind has always strived to be Icarus (well, before he flew too close to the sun) winging his way to the heavens. The flip side is that by nature we are trapped on the ground by gravity, and it takes a phenomenal amount of work to achieve flight. That work requires a crew. And to be one of that crew, always sending others aloft, while secretly desirous of joining them, can be a frustrating existence.

That is the situation the main character of “Brown-Blue” finds herself in. She works as part of the ground crew for air balloons, staying on the ground as she regularly sends other into the skies. At first she seems content with this, but quickly it becomes clear that just as humanity was attracted to the heavens, so is she. But it’s not really the answer.
The air balloons are only a metaphor for her life. She is stuck in an endless circle of drudgery, and every time she attempts to leave it, the gravity of her situation pulls her back in. It’s not that it’s at all bad a life, it’s just not the life she would like. So it is left to her to find the answer, will she remain forever a member of the ground crew, or will she take wings like Icarus and soar to the heavens?

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