Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger’s “My Dog Tulip” unreels fourteen years in the life of man and dog. Man has the murmuring voice of Christopher Plummer; dog has an owner who finds “touching that she should find the world so strange and wonderful.” The minimal, stylized watercolor and pen-and-ink animation is melancholy in a way that suits bittersweet reminiscence. (The film was hand-drawn on a computer.) Based on J. R. Ackerley’s 1956 memoir of sharing a dog’s life of food and shit and sex and affection, the words are wise and playful and Plummer’s sometimes plummy delivery wonderful, and I know at least one dog-lover who will surely heave with sobs upon seeing “My Dog Tulip.” The gorgeous animation will sate others’ appetites. With the voices of Isabella Rossellini as a veterinarian who knows the central source of Tulip’s ills, Lynn Redgrave, Peter Gerety, Brian Murray, Paul Hecht, Euan Morton. 83m. 35mm. (Ray Pride)
“My Dog Tulip” opens Friday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.