Director: J P Valkeapää Starring: Pekka Strang, Ester Geislerova .Finland. 1h 45m
Sometimes those big life events can shake a person from one life into another, after moving through a period of massive grief and shock, J P Valkeapää’s lead Juha (Strang) finds himself in some sort of sado sexual purgatory, a surreal life path, which happens to become fantastically gripping in this somewhat violent dark comedy.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is one of the ultimate sad stories. It begins after the lowest part of Juha’s life, his soulmate had died after a tragic drowning accident. Struggling on with his crippling grief he does his best to look after his teenage daughter and keeps his head down at work. There are hints that Juha is already a bit of a perv, no idea what life was like before, we can only assume his creative adaptation of self gratification is new as he tries to find some kind of satisfaction alone.
Elli (Huhta), Juha’s long suffering teen-angst daughter is growing up to be a vibrant individual. He’s happy to allow her to be her own person, while taking her for her first body piercing he ends up being choked on the floor of a local dominatrix studio. The sensation takes him back to the accident and a surreal sense of peace, the scene cuts from the cold hard floor to floating in the river this wife died in but without all the emotional guilt and pain.
The addictive relationship builds up between two very flawed individuals who just happened to meet at the right time and place. There’s a lot of heartbreak in the duo, but we can only guess what has affected the baby faced novice domme, Mona (Kosonen). While she looks the part, half mistress and half Pris, the “basic pleasure model” Nexus-6 replicant. She often struggels in her role, often getting hurt and nearly killing her clients from her occassional fuck ups. There’s a cringey scene when she needs to pee on a client to put out some candles that are burning him but despite her water intake she just can’t, and ends up burning her hands trying to put him out. Mona seems too distant and closed off, she’s just not into it.. but this all changes with Juha.
There’s a serene colour blending with the movie, each character carries a tone with them. Often life around Juha is muted or plain white with his work life. Until he’s cascaded in vivid neon lights when the kink is switched on, but there is a stark shift when he finds his bliss, floating in the water which works like a floatation tank, silently floating in the ether.
While Juha is slowly falling down the rabbit hole he eventually finds himself tumbling out of control, it leads to a few really outrageous and comical scenes where, Juha walks through a glass door in desperation to get out of work and to his leather lady, another sees him brought into the hospital where he works. unfortunately he was halfway through a session and is laid out on a gurney clad in his leather gimp attire.
…you can choke me longer next time.
Is it just a man struggling with some kind of PTSD struggling to find a new happiness? Is he simply on the verge of suicide or is this new life his real calling? You’ll need to look between the lines and work that out for yourself. From his charming laugh in the closing scene of the movie as he dances in a fetish club, brimming with energy when he sees his mistress arrive on the dancefloor, I think what you witness in this multi leveled film, is a transformation, from caterpillar to moth.
When I first saw the premise of this difficult movie, I felt awkward that it was labeled as a comedy, it’s tiresome to see the fetish scene the butt of any more jokes, and usually the portrayal of the unusual community is usually misrepresented. While this motive only deals with two individuals I think it manages to really capture the essence of an alterative sexuality, a relationship based on these emotions and encounters. it can be a struggle for those who aren’t in the scene, to really get to grips with the ideas of torture and pain however if you can stick with this fiery movie, then Dogs Don’t Wear Pants might just give you a fairly realistic insight into a domme/sub relationship and dependence, not just as an outsider looking in but as an outsider feeling within. Is this the true, crazy path towards emotional enlightenment?
Lists: Fetish Films Vol 1