Dog-friendly cinema screenings? What’s the world coming to? Why do dogs need to go to the cinema? What if they poo everywhere? What if I’m allergic to dogs? These are some of the things you might exclaim if you’re not a dog owner, upon seeing an ad for such an event as last weekend’s Isle Of Dogs screening at City Screen.
For the rest of us, the promise of a dog-friendly cinema environment for our canine friends who can’t (or won’t) be left by themselves is a dream come true. We’ve owned Edgar Allan Pup (or the One&Other dog if you prefer) for three months now, and at five months we’re not prepared to leave him alone in the house for fear of coming home to shredded wallpaper, exposed chewed wires and a sofa relieved of its stuffing. (Puppies are special, and the teething months of a Jack Russell terrier are akin to surviving a season in the Evil Dead cabin.)
Dogs are great, we all know this. If you don’t know this, we suggest you pop along to a dog-friendly screening, whether or not you own a mutt: you’ll be sold on their hairy charms. First of all, every owner is responsible for their own hound: so any puddles or poop must be disposed of as and when (and in this case if, because I didn’t see one single accident from these housetrained pooches) they happen. A good crew of cinema staff are also on hand to administer Ikea’s finest chair blankets, plus a large metal bowl of doggie treats which are handed round like communal popcorn throughout the screening.
Afterwards, the staff embark (no pun intended) on a 40 minute deep clean to make sure no animal detritus is left in the spankingly clean auditorium, so that by the following screening you’d never know the room was previously full of human’s best friends.
Now, you might think that a cinema filled with nearly a hundred dogs would be a cacophony of howls and barks and chaos for ninety minutes, but in all honesty I’ve been to human-only screenings more unruly than this. Many of them. Screenings where I wanted to commit bloody murder upon my fellow man. Yet the dogs all behaved impeccably, and any outbursts were short and to the point (one dog let out a solitary bark on seeing the BBFC certificate at the start of the film, and even this could be seen as a bark of approval: the human version would be a happy WOOOP!) and one dog growled at the bad guy when he went into his world domination speech. All this is evidence leading (no pun intended) me to believe that dogs should take over control of the world, much as they’re given their own island in Isle of Dogs.
At the start and end of the film, there was a chance to socialise terriers and cockers and sprockers and jackapoos and labs and pugs and so forth, and the atmosphere was possibly the best of any screening I’ve ever been to, save for the rare film print screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark I saw at the same cinema back in 2000.
Oh yes, the film. One of Wes Anderson’s finest and funniest. Perfectly pitched for dog lovers and those who found Fantastic Mr. Fox’s stop motion charms so wonderful. The film is heavily scented with the belief that dogs are good boys and girls, and humans… well, we try to understand them, despite their baffling ways.
Bravo to whoever came up with the idea of dog friendly screenings, and to the staff of City Screen who made it such a fun experience. To everyone else, we suggest you get a dog. They lower your stress levels and increase your life expectancy, albeit while they’re chewing on your bookcases and hogging your bedcovers.
Do we want an encore? Absolutely! We suggest a screening of Reservoir Dogs. Or maybe Dogville. Let’s just wait a bit for the dust to settle on whether the cinema is now uninhabitable for allergy sufferers. We’re sure it won’t be.City Screen