Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

“I know how the heart works.” So says Juha, a middle-aged heart surgeon whose life falls apart in the wake of tragedy, but who finds unexpected escape from pain in the rituals of bondage. Maintaining a remarkable balance between deadpan humour and deadening grief, J-P Valkeapää (the Finnish director of The Visitor and They Have Escaped) takes us tumbling down a BDSM rabbit hole into a Wonderland-like world of asphyxiated wish-fulfilment.

Mark Kermode, The Guardian

For those who found too much fantasy in Fifty Shades of Grey’s depiction of S&M and its painful, cathartic pleasures, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants arrives as a welcome corrective. Though it doesn’t go in for explicit shock therapy, this inky comedy about a straitlaced widower who finds an alternative way to harness his grief – so to speak – is bracing for the empathetic psychological complexity it brings to oft-mistreated subject matter. Gradually carving out a tender, conflicted misfit romance from lurid beginnings, and eventually finding joy in some very dark corners, Finnish writer-director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää maintains a peculiar tonal balance to the end of his irresistibly titled third feature. 

Guy Lodge, Variety

  • Language: Finnish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: SF Film Finland
  • Cinematography: Pietari Peltola
  • Editing: Mervi Junkkonen
  • Music: Michal Nejtek
  • Sound: Micke Nyström
  • Production design: Kaisa Mäkinen