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Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version) VCD

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Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

A rare Thai cult film, Citizen Dog criticizes various aspects of the modern society with surrealistically colored visuals and a daring plot that can only originate from the most imaginative brain. Director Wisit Sasanatieng, after his creative Tears of the Black Tiger, adapts a story written by his wife into an acclaimed movie, officially selected for the Toronto Film Festival and the Pusan Film Festival. Citizen Dog was awarded the Bronze Prize for the Best Asian Film at the Fantasia Film, Montreal.

Naive village boy Pod (Mahasamut Boonyaruk) moves to Bangkok to work in a factory producing canned sardine fish. He accidentally cuts off his finger and re-attaches his colleague's. While working as an office security guard, he meets Jin (Saengthong Gate-Uthong), enjoying a love-at-first-sight experience. After that he becomes a taxi driver, so he can drive her around, hoping to win her heart. All of a sudden, she decides to dedicate her life to environmental protection...

Everything seems surreal or even absurd, but despite such craziness the film turns out to be amazingly entertaining and thought-provoking. The CG effects transform Bangkok into an alien city, but that critical distance helps convey the film's comments about modern society. Narration is done by renowned Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Invisible Waves, Last Life in the Universe).

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Technical Information

Product Title: Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version) 大狗民 (香港版) 大狗民 (香港版) シチズン・ドッグ (Ma Nakorn) (香港版) Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Mahasmut Bunyaraksh (Actor) | Sanftong Ket-U-Tong (Actor) | Sawatwong Palakawong (Actor) | Pen-ek Ratanaruang 瑪赫斯密賓雅域 (Actor) | 辛芳卡爾托 (Actor) | 莎域皇柏勒廣 (Actor) | 彭力雲坦拿域安 Mahasmut Bunyaraksh (Actor) | Sanftong Ket-U-Tong (Actor) | Sawatwong Palakawong (Actor) | 彭力云坦拿域安 マハサムトル・ボーンヤーク (Actor) | サントン・キーウトン (Actor) | Sawatwong Palakawong (Actor) | Pen-ek Ratanaruang Mahasmut Bunyaraksh (Actor) | Sanftong Ket-U-Tong (Actor) | Sawatwong Palakawong (Actor) | Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Director: Wisit Sasanatieng 韋西沙贊納庭 韦西沙赞纳庭 ウィシット・サーサナティヤン Wisit Sasanatieng
Release Date: 2007-01-11
Language: Thai
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Thailand
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: IIA
Duration: 104 (mins)
Publisher: Asia Video (HK)
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 110 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004612685

Product Information

Director: Wisit Sasanatieng

HKAFF亞洲電影節2006 撐闊亞洲映像角度!!
「蒙特利爾Fantasia 電影節」
最佳亞洲電影 (銅獎)、最突破電影 (銀獎)
TIME《時代》雜誌 年度全球十大電影之一

大城市 小情人 兩個人同一夢想





  This is a surreal and comical love story about Bangkok's little people: their struggle in search of happiness amidst a rapidly changing world. A world over-flowing with dreams, but void of love and understanding. Pod is a migrant worker from up-country who drifts from job to job: chopping his finger off in sardine factory, becoming a security guard and eventually a taxi driver. He meets Jin, a maid who has her nose perpetually buried in a mysterious white book written in foreign language that she dreams of somebody understanding. Pod is smitten. But then Jin becomes obsessed with a hippie westerner and environment movement. Somehow, Pod becomes a celebrity because he is the only guy in Bangkok without tail. If he grows one, he'll just be one of the crowd, a "Citizen Dog" alluded in the title.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version)"

View Professional Review:
March 20, 2007

This professional review refers to Citizen Dog (Hong Kong Version)
Citizen Dog is the new film from Wisit Sasanatieng, the Thai director of the colourfully camp, visually striking, genre-hopping Tears of the Black Tiger. The director's extraordinary visual sensibility and willingness to have fun with his subjects, disregarding any kind of naturalistic element whatsoever, is even more evident in Citizen Dog, but what is likely to strike most people watching the film is the debt it owes to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie.

The hero of Citizen Dog - although the film is rather wary of describing the young man in such terms - is called Pod (Mahasamut Boonyaruk). A country bumpkin, a man without a dream and scarcely a thought in his head, Pod makes his way to the big city of Bangkok, and despite the warning from his grandmother that he will end up growing a tail if he starts working there, he finds himself employed at a sardine-canning factory. He doesn't grow a tail and become one of the mass-produced regular (regular?) Bangkok "citizen dogs", but he does lose a finger during an unfortunate incident. Fortunately, he recovers a missing digit some time later, tapping away by itself in a can of sardines in a local store. The finger actually belongs to Yod, who lost one in a similar accident, but the two men soon rectify the mistake and are reunited with their own index fingers. Due to the incident the two men become firm finger buddies.

Pod has many such surreal incidents in his time in Bangkok, meeting a great number of unusual and eccentric characters such as Kong, the living-dead motorbike taxi driver, killed during a rainstorm of helmets. But it's when he becomes a taxi driver himself that Pod gets to see just how strange the world outside is, meeting characters like Baby Mam, a young lady who looks much younger than her age (or maybe acts much older than she looks), who travels with her much abused and mistreated talking teddy Thongchai, and a lost man who has the unfortunate and disgusting habit of licking every surface in his environment.

Most significantly, Pod meets and falls in love with Jin (Saengthong Gate-Uthong), a rather unusual girl who works as a cleaning lady. Her life has been changed by the discovery of a book with a white cover, written in a language she cannot read. Nevertheless she pores over the book constantly, convinced that when she works out what it says, that it will change her life. Her life takes another turn however when she sees an environmental activist, Peter, who owns a similar book with a white cover. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to a certain Amélie Poulain (a factor in the casting clearly more important than having any acting ability), Jin likewise believes she has found her calling, and it is to make the world a better place. But her strange mannerisms and the fantastic flights of her imagination could stop her from recognising the reality of the fact that Pod is in love with her.

Sadly, it's a similar detachment from any kind of reality that is the undoing of Citizen Dog. Visually it is astonishing - constantly inventive, you never know what you will see on the screen next, but it will almost certainly be unique, surprising and vividly colourful. Lovely as it is to look at, it is never enough to keep the viewer interested in the absence of anything resembling a plot or even real characters. For all their agglomeration of quirks and eccentricities, Pod and Jin are unfortunately devoid of anything like a personality and are actually very bland characters, who the viewer is likely to find more stupid than sympathetic. Without any real people or any real plotline, the director simply bombards the viewer with one astonishing sequence of image or digital trickery after the next, trying so very hard to impress and distract the viewer by slight of hand that there is actually very little of substance to be gained from what in the end amounts to little more than an episodic compendium of music promo-video tricks and special effects.

Citizen Dog is released in Hong Kong by Asia Video Publishing. The film is presented on a dual-layer disc in NTSC format and is not region encoded.

The quality of the video transfer is of utmost importance on a film where there is such an emphasis on the visual aspect, and fortunately, the Hong Kong AVP release is very impressive indeed. Colours are remarkably vivid and perfectly saturated, positively leaping off the screen and searing your eyes. The world is going to look a much duller place for a while after you watch this DVD. The transfer is resolutely stable, with no marks, scratches or compression artefacts. The only issue here is some rather fierce edge enhancement, a little bit of edge bleed and a tiny bit of shimmer, which in some scenes rather intrudes on the otherwise perfection of the transfer.

The worst thing I can say about the soundtrack is that it is not Dolby Digital 5.1. A plain stereo track is clearly insufficient for a film like this, which in addition to the busyness of its production has quite a number of musical interludes and a ridiculously catchy theme song, all of which would certainly benefit from a surround mix. It's baffling why one has not been included here. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is however clear and robust enough, with only some minor strain on higher registers.

Optional English subtitles are included in a white font, and are clear and readable. There are only one or two minor typos early in the film, but the larger part of the film appears to be well translated and grammatically sound.

A long Behind-The-Scenes (42:09) is the principal extra feature here. It's made up of interviews with the cast and crew and lots of clips from the film. Although the quality is poor - it seems like it was videotaped off the television - it has fixed English subtitles and is relatively informative, talking about the origin of the ideas and how they were developed into a novel before being made into a film. The director talks about the themes and how the visual appearance was achieved, while the inexperienced actors - an indie pop star and a model - talk about how they approached their characters. You'll also find the trailer and a couple of music videos included in this feature, though with the constant clips of scenes from the film, it does become quite repetitive after a while. The Trailer (2:11) is included separately, and with a film like this, inevitably, it's quite striking.

Let's not be too hard on Citizen Dog for its indebtedness to Amelie. It's difficult not to be in thrall to the unique visual language of that film - even Jean-Pierre Jeunet found himself remaking it when he came to filming A Very Long Engagement, going similarly over-the-top with digital trickery and forgetting to include anything like a personality for his characters. Putting that aside, there is much to admire in Citizen Dog and the simplicity of its belief in the power of following your dreams, but not to the point where it blinds you to the good things in the real world. With an abundance of richness, everyone will have their own favourite eccentric character or sequence in the film, but sadly, like an over-long music video (think Spike Jonz's video for Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet stretched out to an hour and a half long), its ultimately empty and superficial charm wears off surprisingly quickly. The Hong Kong DVD release from AVP presents the film with the kind of transfer it deserves, and even English-subtitled extra features - and for those fine visual qualities alone Citizen Dog is certainly worth a viewing.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

March 15, 2007

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Wisit Sasanatieng is an absolute visual genius. He has a gift for color, design, and sheet unadulterated whimsy that few - if any - can match anywhere in the world. Why is this man not famous, then? Well, you can thank the brothers Weinstein and their years of acquiring and burying Asian titles for that as Sasanatieng's fantastic debut film - Tears of the Black Tiger - is still sitting in the Miramax vaults, unlikely to ever be seen on this continent. It took a while but Sasanatieng returned with his sophomore effort this past year. Citizen Dog takes the wildly oversaturated color schemes, tongue and cheek humor and fantastical designs of Tears, amps them up a notch and moves them to a modern urban setting for this most unusual love story.

Told in chapters and heavily narrated by acclaimed Thai director Pen Ek Ratanaruang (Last Life In The Universe), Citizen Dog is the story of Pod, a young Thai man who leaves his remote village home to find work in Bangkok. On his departure, his wizened grandmother yells after him that if he goes to Bangkok he will grow a tail. She cackles merrily away after delivering this bizarre warning that actually plays a major role by the end of things. Once in Bangkok, Pod meets Jin, a young rural woman working as a maid in the same building where he acts as a security guard, and he falls deeply in love and is determined to win her over. Before he gets there, though, there are severed fingers, raining helmets, a ghostly motorcycle taxi driver, a foul-mouthed chain smoking teddy bear, a lizard with grandma's head and an enormous mountain of empty plastic bottles to deal with. Clearly this is not your typical love story.

With it's incredible visual style and sense of fantasy, the most obvious point of comparison for Citizen Dog is Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie. The comparison is fine as far as it goes but it doesn't go nearly far enough as Sasanatieng's visual skills outstrip even the French auteur's, and those visual skills are very much a necessity as Sasanatieng embraces a very unusual narrative style. With its chapter structure and heavy emphasis on voice over narration, Citizen Dog often feels more like a colorful storybook brought to life than it does a conventional film. The characters speak directly to and for themselves only when absolutely necessary; the rest of the time the story is told purely via images and narration. It is an unusual approach but one that works well for this world.

by Todd Brown -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

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