For fans of Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-nominated film “Dog Day Afternoon,” Drafthouse Films’ latest feature, “The Dog,” will be a must-see, particularly because “The Dog” will focus on the real life inspiration for Al Pacino’s character, John Wojtowicz.
Wojtowicz was a character all on his own, making him a great documentary subject for directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren. In fact, “The Dog” has been called “The best documentary about a human being ever made” by Next Projection and a “[s]urprisingly sad portrait of a sexually liberated man held captive by his past, forever chasing and trying to rewrite his own legend” by Variety.
Here’s more about the film:
“Coming of age in the 1960’s, John Wojtowicz’ libido was unrestrained even by the libertine standards of the era, with multiple wives and lovers, both women and men. In August 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover’s sex-reassignment surgery, resulting in a fourteen-hour hostage situation that was broadcast live on television. Three years later, John was portrayed by Al Pacino as “Sonny,” and his crime immortalized in one of the most iconic New York movies of all time, Dog Day Afternoon. The Film had a profound influence on Wojtowicz (who pronounced his name “Woto-wits”), and when he emerged from a six-year prison sentence, he was known by his self-imposed nickname: “The Dog.”
Drawing upon extraordinary archival footage, the film shuffles between the 1970s and the 2000s. Touching upon the sexual revolution of the 1970s, we gain a first-hand perspective on New York’s historical gay liberation movement in which Wojtowicz played an active role. In later footage, he remains a subversive force, backed by the unconditional love and headstrong wit of his mother Terry. The hows and whys of the bank robbery are recounted in gripping detail by Wojtowicz and various eyewitnesses, and don’t necessarily always align with one another.
Directors Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren began filming The Dog in 2002, and their long-term dedication pays off in this unforgettable portrait capturing all of the subject’s complexity. John is, by turns, lovable, maniacal, heroic, and self-destructive. To call him larger than life feels like an understatement. Passionate and profane, The Dog makes no apologies for being who he is: ‘Live every day as if it’s your last and whoever doesn’t like it can go fuck themselves and a rubber duck.'”
Drafthouse Films will release “The Dog” in New York Aug. 8 and Los Angeles (and on VOD platforms) Aug. 15.