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Dogs Don't Wear Pants

J-P Valkeapää

One of Finland's most daring filmmakers, J-P Valkeapää is unpredictable in the best sense. His most recent film, a hit at Cannes last year, is fearless even by his standards, bringing together crippling remorse and absurdist comedy.

The film begins during a bucolic cottage sojourn for surgeon Juha (Pekka Strang), his wife, and their young daughter Elli. Tragedy strikes almost immediately, as Juha's wife drowns in a fishing net he had carelessly left out. Years later, Juha, still struggling to deal with his sadness and regret, is teetering on the brink of a complete breakdown.

“Things spiral out of control as Juha grows increasingly reckless…”

When the now-tween Elli (Iloni Huhta) orders him out of the piercing salon where she's getting a tongue stud, he stumbles into a dominatrix's studio next door, where he finds a salve for his guilt in the person of Mona (Krista Kosonen), a demanding mistress who is as eager to punish Juha as he is to be punished. Things spiral out of control as Juha grows increasingly reckless, even suicidal, and it becomes alarmingly clear that neither he nor Mona know how far they are willing to go.