In the outskirts suspended between metropolis and wilderness, where the only law seems to be that of the strongest, Marcello is a small and gentle man who divides his days between work in his modest grooming salon for dogs, love for his daughter Alida, and an ambiguous relationship of subjection with Simoncino, a former boxer who terrorizes the entire neighborhood. Determined to reaffirm his dignity after an umpteenth oppression, Marcello will imagine revenge with an unexpected outcome.
"As has often happened in my films, even at the origin of Dogman there is a visual suggestion, an image, a reversal of perspective: that of some dogs, closed in cages, who witness as witnesses to the explosion of human bestiality...an image that dates back to over ten years ago, when for the first time I thought about shooting this film. But was it really this movie? Difficult to say, because over time Dogman has changed along with me, becoming a film always new, always different. Some of the original ideas have come this far, but I don’t think they’ve exhausted the deepest sense of the story that I wanted to tell: Dogman, for example, is not just a revenge film, even if revenge (but it would be better to call it redemption) plays an important role, just as it is not just a variation on the (eternal) theme of the struggle between the weak and the strong. It is instead a film that, though through an extreme story, makes us face something that concerns us all: the consequences of the choices we make daily to survive, those yes’s we say that lead us to no longer being able to say no, the difference between who we are and who we think we are. In this deep questioning, in approaching the loss of the innocence of a man, I think it is a universal film, ethical and not moralistic: for this reason I really want to emphasize the distance from the news headlines that only freely inspired. Everything, beginning with the locations, the characters, their psychologies, has been transfigured."
Matteo Garrone (Roma, 1968) graduated from the Liceo Artistico in 1986; after working as a camera assistant, he decided to devote himself full time to painting. In 1996 he won the Sacher Festival with the short film Silhouette. The following year, with his own production company Archimede, he made his first feature film, Land in Between, which won the Special Jury Prize and the Cipputi Prize at the Torino Film Festival. In 1998 he shot the documentary Oreste Pipolo, fotografo di matrimoni, and in the same year his second feature film, Guests was presented at the Venice Film Festival. The film received a Special Mention at the Angers Festival, the Best Film Award at the Valencia Film Festival and the Kodak Award at the Messina Film Festival. His third feature film, Roman Summer, was also shown at the Venice Film Festival. In 2002, with The Embalmer, he participated in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs of the 55th Cannes Film Festival. The film won the David di Donatello for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, the Silver Ribbon and the Golden Ciak for Best Editing, the Fellini Prize for Best Producer, Best Production Design, Best Photography, Best Screenplay and Best Distribution, and the Special Jury Prize at the Pasolini Awards. In 2004 his film First Love won the Silver Bear for Best Score at the 54th Berlinale. The film also won the David di Donatello and the Silver Ribbon for Best Score. In 2008 he was for the first time in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with Gomorrah, which won the Grand Jury Prize. The film also won five European Film Awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography), seven David di Donatello, two Silver Ribbons, the Silver Hugo for Best Screenplay at the Chicago Film Festival and received the nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Césars. Also in 2008, he produced Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch) by Gianni Di Gregorio, which won the Best First Feature Award at the Venice FilmFestival. In 2012 and 2015 he returned to Cannes competition, respectively with Reality (forasecond Grand Jury Prize, as well as three David di Donatello and three Silver Ribbons) and Tale of Tales, winner of 7 David di Donatello. Dogman is his new film, in competition at the 71st Cannes Film Festival (Marcello Fonte, Best Actor Award).