My Life as a Dog [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1985]

This re-release of My Life as a Dog from Criterion may be far from perfect, but it's leaps and bounds ahead of the disappointing initial release from Fox Lorber. Here, finally, is the widescreen version of the film. Framed at 1.66:1 (though it's hard to tell this from 1.85:1) and anamorphic, the transfer is somewhat flat, though intentionally so. Colors are drab for the most part, just as the theatrical presentation, but it doesn't harm the overall impression of the transfer. Neither does occasional moments of grain and scratches. Unquestionably this is the best the film has looked out of the theaters. As often is the case with a Criterion release, this disc uses the original soundtrack, which is a Dolby Digital mono track. It's obviously true that there isn't going to be any expanse to the sound field, but dialogue is clear (optional subtitles are available if you don't happen to speak Swedish) and with such a small film that is dialogue driven, any surrounds might seem overly intrusive. While hardly supplement-heavy as some Criterion titles, this does have a few interesting extras. Starting things off is a fine 18-minute interview with Lasse Hallström, who discusses his work and technique. In addition to that is a 1973 television film that he directed, Shall We Go To My or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone?, which is about three friends and the women they meet at a bar. It's not something you'd see on American television! Finally, along with a poorly transferred theatrical trailer, is a booklet with two short essays from Michael Atkinson and Kurt Vonnegut. Since Hallström has provided commentary tracks to other DVDs (The Cider House Rules and Chocolat), it's too bad that he didn't here, with the film that really brought him to Hollywood.
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Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Lasse Hallström and enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Shall We Go to My or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone? (1973), a 52-minute film by Lasse Hallström
  • New video interview with Hallström
  • Reflections on My Life as a Dog by Kurt Vonnegut, and an essay by film critic Michael Atkinson
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


My Life as a Dog
In 1959 Sweden, young Ingemar (Anton Glanzelius) lives with his dying mother and his nasty older brother. He survives all of life's knocks by comparing himself to those who are worse off--such as Laika, the little Russian space dog who was rocketed to his death and had nothing to say in the matter. Ingemar begins to identify with Laika more and more as his mother's health deteriorates, at times dropping to all fours and baying at the moon. When his mother is advised to get some peace and quiet away from her children, Ingemar is sent to live with his loveable uncle and aunt. For the first time, the boy is surrounded by relatives and classmates who pose no threat and who genuinely like him. He even has a sexual awakening. When his mother dies, he no longer rationalizes his misfortunes by comparing himself to those less fortunate; from now on, he can conjure up pleasant memories of his summer away from home to sustain him through the hard times. My Life as a Dog (Mitt Liv Som Hund) is based on the autobiographical novel by Reidar Jonsson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Anton Glanzelius - Ingemar Johansson
  • Image coming soon
    Anki Liden - Ingemar's Mother
  • Image coming soon
    Manfred Serner - Erik
  • Melinda Kinnaman
    Melinda Kinnaman - Saga
  • Tomas von Bromssen
    Tomas von Bromssen - Gunnar

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