By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
This film played at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival on Nov 30th.
The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova is a hilarious and heartwarming film. When two estranged siblings are strangers in a strange land and they have to work together to honour their grandmother’s last request–to find the remains of her dog, Peter–what they discover about their family heritage just might help mend fences. What they dig up are their own skeletons in the closet, and not even the remains of a beloved canine will dare tear their lives apart
Aaron (Douglas Nyback) and Sarah (Katherine Fogler) Cotler are in Poland. This film is more about them bonding, much like how Buby (Polish: Busia) and Peter (the dog) were. No flashbacks are immediately offered to let me know just how much these two loved each other; though by the film’s end, we see brother and sister understand each other more.
Nyback and Fogler do a terrific job at playing off each other. At first, they come across as The Odd Couple even though they are not. Neither understands the other for the life choices they made in their years growing up. But when they land in a new country, all those grievances have to be put aside. The people they meet in trying to find the old homestead makes for a grande road trip style adventure.
Michael Whatling crafted a meaningful story for the ages; not only it is about family ties that bind but also it teaches us a bit more about ourselves. One terrific piece of trivia people may not be aware of is that he is the set teacher of the Pup Star franchise. With all these canines about, the attachment that forms between human and canine may have inspired him to craft this tale about how siblings have to bond too. Director Zack Bernbaum ( Cold Deck and And Now a Word from Our Sponsor) does a terrific job at giving life to the screenplay. The injections of humour help pace this film out and make it a joy to watch. Even the music has a light-hearted flavour, which gave me a smile.
4 Stars out of 5