How do we appear through the eyes of a dog? It’s a question that lies at the heart of this fascinating and surprising Istanbul-set documentary.
It’s impossible not to walk the streets of the Turkish city and not encounter one of the 100,000 stray dogs that live there. (The result of city ordinances that prohibit the capture or killing of stray animals.) It’s the perfect metaphor for anyone who exists in any society without status or security. And so ‘Stray’ follows a number of these dogs around the city. There’s Zeytin – fiercely independent, who embarks on adventures at night; Nazar, more nurturing and protective, who easily befriends the humans around her, and Kartal, a shy puppy living on the outskirts of a construction site, who finds companions in the security guards that care for her. The strays’ disparate lives intersect when they encounter a group of young Syrians with whom they share the streets. Elizabeth Lo’s award-winning film is a critical observation of human civilization through the unfamiliar gaze of these canines and a sensory voyage into new ways of seeing.