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Dog Day Matinee as cinema screens guide-dog movie for audience of dogs

This dog truly was a Fantastic Beast as he watched the Harry Potter spin-off last November.
© Picturehouse - Twitter

The Duke of York Picturehouse in Brighton is selling tickets for a dog-friendly screening of so-called ‘dogumentary’ Pick Of The Litter on May 12th. Humans are invited to bring their pup, grab a blanket, and bask in the virtual sunlight of the silver screen.

By G. John Cole, 20 Mar 2019

Next time you’re in the popcorn queue and you notice the bloke ahead of you has a rather ‘ruff’ voice, try unbuttoning his raincoat – it could be three little dogs standing on each other’s shoulders in disguise.

That’s because dog-friendly cinema screenings are becoming more and more popular, even while the refreshments queue remains out-of-bounds for canine cinephiles.

And the next big show to screen for furry film fanatics will be an inspiring movie about the training of guide dogs. Pick Of The Litter follows its subjects from puppyhood through two years training to their introduction to blind human companions. The Picturehouse cinema chain, which is fast becoming known for its positive treatment of dogs and questionable treatment of humans, is putting on ‘canine-style’ movie screenings of the movie across the UK.

Two-legs welcome

The May event will be the second such dog-friendly screen the Duke of York has held, following a riotous screening of Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs animation last year.

“The response we had from the last one was incredible,” duty manager Carolynn Reddell told The Argus. “People were bringing the whole family and their dogs too. We’ve had customers tell us that it’s been great for them to take their dogs out.”

There’s a one-dog-per-human rule for the next screening, and humans are also permitted to show up without dogs – although they are advised that the screening conditions are adjusted for canine needs.

The lights will be left a little brighter, there will be water dishes at the front, and fewer seats will be sold so as to leave space for stretching and cuddles.

It is not known whether lampposts will be installed in the cinema bathrooms.

New wave of dog cinema

While baby-friendly film screenings continue to be taboo among exhibitors, dog-oriented cinema has enjoyed its own nouvelle vague over recent years.

Palme D’Or winning filmmaker Cristian Mungiu held a prestigious dog-friendly screening of arthouse dog flick White God at Les Films de Cannes a Bucarest festival in 2014.

And the Isle of Dogs event in Brighton was not in isolation: cinemas across the UK and beyond opened their doors to four-legged patrons for that particular release.

But true acceptance will come when dogs (and babies) are permitted not just to screenings thought to be thematically relevant, but to all types of fare from sensual European experimental art films to challenging Asian historical epics.