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A bittersweet account of the author's 14-year relationship with his adopted Alsatian, MY DOG TULIP was written, directed and animated by award-winning filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, and is the first animated feature ever to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology. An official selection of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, MY DOG TULIP is based on the book by British author and distinguished man of letters J.R. Ackerley. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, in middle age, he came to adopt Tulip - a beautiful, yet intolerable 18-month-old German shepherd. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the ideal companion he had been searching for in vain. Originally published in England in 1956, My Dog Tulip is now published in the US by the New York Review of Books, and is the best-selling title in their Classics Series. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, the film reveals Tulip's often erratic behavior, canine tastes, and Ackerley's determined efforts to ensure an existence of perfect happiness for her. -- (C) New Yorker
Although My Dog Tulip will appeal to Dog lovers for obvious reasons, it will probably appeal more to fans of J.R. Ackerley. I haven't yet read the book but I have read 'We think the world of you' and it now seems obvious that Evie the German shepherd from that story was based on the real life Tulip, which excited my quite a bit as it is one of my favourite books. My Dog Tulip is a warts and all story about dogs; dogs bark, they jump up at you, they poo and do other such uncivilised things. They do not skateboard or wear baseball hats! Everything about this animated adaptation is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing and it is now quite firmly in my favourite films of all time.
"My Dog Tulip" is a bittersweet animated film of J.R. Ackerley's recollections of a dog he owned in the years during and after World War II when he no longer was a young man. But this is not just any dog. It is an Alsatian female, Tulip, that he rescues from a working class family that is apparently incapable of caring for it since they never took it for walks, leaving the dog's social sklls woefully underdeveloped. So dog and owner have their fair share of kinks to work out in their relationshiip but as time wears on and they get to know each other better, things go much smoother.
"My Dog Tulip" is animated in a rough hand drawn style with occasional interludes that are even cruder looking, like they are directly pulled from Ackerley's sketch pad. It is almost as if he is writing the film as we are watching it. The only thing that might trouble potential viewers is the scatalogical details of Tulip's habits which at times definitely feel like too much information.(Also remember that the movie is set in a less civilized time when there were no pooper scooper laws.) Thankfully, this is not played for laughs but used as a way of showing how Tulip communicates with her owner, as she makes her feelings clear. Some of which actually reminded me of the family dog I had when I was growing up. All of which plays well into what the author is saying about the search for the perfect friend which he finds in a dog. But for me, a dog would not be perfect since they still have to be taken care of and looked after and that's not really the basis for any kind of healthy relationship.(Plus, I have killed off plants when I've tried to look after them.) On the other hand, as a friend put it, dogs may ruin your rug but they will not ruin your life, unlike children.
I've had two dogs so far in my lifetime. The first was named Chatom; I was born and then greeted by his natural warmth. He lived a good fourteen years and then passed away. A few years later; the family got Skipper, his name derived from my mother's flamboyant obsession with boating (skipper, for those who don't know, is just another word for captain).
I loved both dogs; as a good owner should. I'll even admit to having some special sort of connection with each of them, and I'll tell you: the bond shared between a man/woman and his/her dog is a peculiar, fascinating, impeccable one. Given that I've had experience with dogs - as house pets and even as friends - it comes to no surprise that quite a bit of the material covered in "My Dog Tulip" - a wonderful adult animation based on the memoirs of author J.R. Ackerley - resonates with me and the rest of the dog-loving world. It's a bittersweet and often times touching story of a boy - and a very old boy at that - and his dog; told with compassion, humor, and a general understanding of human impulses and emotions.
Since the story is indeed told as if it were a memoir; our narrator is Christopher Plummer, playing the role of Ackerley. He wants to tell us about his dog tulip; an animal that he loved for fifteen pleasant, wonderful, and insightful years. In return for his love towards the animal; the animal also loved him. The relationship is told through a short, sweet, and most definitely to-the-point story that only a guy like Ackerley could tell in the many interesting ways that he does.
For starters, I suppose it's unique that he would tackle the subject of owning - and sharing a life with - a dog with a sharp se
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