Dog (2001) – Andrea Arnold

Thematically linked in a few ways to Arnold’s later Fish Tank, this short film sees Arnold finding her artistic feet and paves the way for what would become her Oscar winning short Wasp. Leah is a council-estate teen whose mum screams abuse at her when she leaves the flat rather than waving tutty-bye. Even if you haven’t ventured into the wilds of East London, you’ll recognise the type of people that populate this short from any number of Ken Loach or Mike Leigh films.

Leah meets up with her boyfriend John, they then go and buy some drugs. Romance not being dead he leads her off onto some waste ground and starts to get frisky. When a stray dog eats said drugs, John kicks it to death, prompting Leah to see him for the idiot he is and head home to a receive a beating from her mum. Who is the dog of the title? Well it’s not as subtle as one would hope. Once Leah starts barking at her mum all becomes obvious. There are far worse ways to spend nine minutes of your life than watching this. It looks lovely and is stylistically undeniably Arnold. Joanne Hill is great as Leah, shame she hasn’t been in anything else since.

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