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TO PROTECT AND SERVE

USA, 2001 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Joseph Perez

What Best In Show did for the world of dog competitions, To Protect And Serve does for the LAPD. Joseph Perez's seething mockumentary introduces veteran cops Holloway and Friendly following them on their rounds through the mean streets of the City of Angels. Friendly, true to his name, was one of the chief instigators of the Hug A Thug programme, a not so successful scheme to cuddle prisoners as part of their rehabilitation. Although one tattooed and scarred gang member claims the hugs helped him while imprisoned, Friendly's attempts to get enraged motorists to embrace is hilarious. Holloway is trapped in a loveless marriage but desperate to disguise its failure. His actions become increasingly erratic and violent, possibly triggered by the humiliating arrest of two shoplifting clowns. Brilliant humour, bizarre incidents and even stranger childhood stories are the stuff of first rate comedy.

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