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CALA, MY DOG!

China, 2003 (MIFF 2003, Regional Focus)

Director: Lu Xuechang

Cala is a scruffy little dog who means the world to Lao, a blue-collar worker who lives in Beijing with his wife and son. When the pooch is nabbed by the authorities for being out on the streets without a permit, the family has 18 hours to procure enough money to pay the considerable fine, otherwise Cala will be let loose outside the city limits. For Lao, finding enough money is vital, as his dog not only provides comfort and joy, but stability in his life. The clock is ticking and the search is on, as the family pulls out all stops, enlisting the help of various other family members, a neighbour and her ex-husband, to rescue Cala.

Set in 1995, when dog permits (complete with an identifying photo) were introduced to counter rabies, Cala, My Dog! is a biting social satire, with wry, comical observations of life in modern day Bejmg, that played to rapt audiences at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

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