Monday, August 30, 2010
The Fierlingers' MY DOG TULIP brings J.R. Ackerley to the screen -- and some new-fangled touches to old-fashioned animation
Queen and her Corgis, Churchill and his bulldog, J.R. Ackerley and Tulip. If that last one doesn't ring the bell, no matter: a gong may sound in perpetuity, once you've seen the new animated film MY DOG TULIP. A gift from the husband-wife filmmaking team of Paul and Sandra Fierlinger (the pair is pictured below), the movie is about to have its world theatrical premiere here at Film Forum. Mr. Ackerley, a British literary editor and writer, had his book of the same title (a reminiscence about the relationship between him and his dog) published in 1956 in England and later here in America. Reissued by New York Review Books in its Classic Series, "Tulip" is currently that series' best-seller.
Marley and Me, be assured that it is not. For one thing, "Tulip" is not a film for children. One of the first things to greet us on-screen are Mr. Ackerley's words: "Unable to love each other, the English turn to dogs." Sad, ironic, rather nastily funny -- and definitely not for kids. The story that unfolds thereafter tells of a quiet, highly intelligent and lonely man who has never had a committed relationship with another person. Into his life comes the dog Tulip.
Ron Gallela movie, I find the comparison most apt.) At the finale, the Fierlingers quote generously from Mr. Ackerley, and hearing such intelligent, vibrant and profound thoughts (beautifully spoken by Christopher Plummer) is such a treat that I should think this splendid little film will send many viewers back to the source. After seeing so many films that attempt either far too little, or whose objectives are nowhere matched by the necessary skills of execution, what a pleasure it is to view a movie whose reach and grasp are firmly at one.
, the first release from the newly reanimated New Yorker Films (Welcome back, oh venerated one!) opens Wednesday, September 1, in New York City at Film Forum for a two-week run. Attention, animation aficionados: The filmmaking team, Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, will appear at Film Forum in-person, at the 8 pm shows on Wednesday, September 1 & Thursday, September 2. Click here for Film Forum showtimes and ticket information, and click here to see where else the film will be playing throughout the upcoming fall season.