Finland may create a few films, but not many cross over into the mainstream, or even get as far as the indy circuit outside of their native country.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, the latest film by J.-P. Valkeapaa (“They Have Escaped”, “The Fall (Short)”), is one such movie that has crossed over and, should you get the chance, we suggest you see it.
Valkeapaa has created a visual treat, all dark hues, subtle lighting and pounding soundtrack, be that from the dance music to the rain that lashes our protagonists to the creaking of leather. This is all wrapped around a sad, funny and erotically charged story involving asphyxiation play.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants sees Juha, Pekka Strang (“Tom Of Finland”, “Juice”), tragically lose his wife to a drowning incident at the start of the movie. As Juha dives in to try and save her from the tangled net she is caught in, he almost drowns himself and has a vision of his wife swimming towards him.
Fast forward many years and Juha, a surgeon at the local hospital, has been bringing his daughter Elli, Ilona Huhta (“We Are The Pirates Of The Roads”), up on his own. He hasn’t got back involved with anyone, electing instead to spray his dead wife’s perfume over some of her old clothes and masturbate himself silly.
On his daughter’s birthday, she requests to have her tongue pierced. Whilst she’s having that done, Juha tries to find a coffee and winds up in the dungeon of Mistress Mona, Krista Kosonen (“Blade Runner 2049”, “The Midwife”), a dominatrix who knocks him to the floor, straddles him and begins choking him with her whip.
It’s as he’s about to pass-out that Juha witnesses something he sees as magical; the same vision that he had of his wife as he was drowning himself.
This sparks something within him and, to the detriment of his work, his daughter, his life in general, he begins an unhealthy quest for Mona to asphyxiate him for longer and longer, all so he can glimpse his wife’s face, something that Valkeapaa cleverly hides from us.
He visits Mona often, but when he gets her to push things too far the he stops breathing, she cuts him off. Juha is obsessed by this point though, and he takes to following Mona, first to a fetish club and then to her home where things get very ugly.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is a wonderful movie. Filled with dark humour, seedy lighting and all wrapped around a sad story of a man who just wants to see his wife again.
Sure, it’s a touch predictable and the story involving the daughter doesn’t quite go anywhere or resolve, but, that aside, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is a triumph. You will cringe, laugh, well-up, you may even be turned on, who knows.
As most cinemas have now sadly closed for the time being, the distributors have decided to make Dogs Don’t Wear Pants available to view online from today (20th March 2020). It will be on Curzon Home Cinema and then on other streaming platforms in the coming weeks.