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dogs and french cinema: why great danes are the best dogs for apartments

03 July 2011

How are large and giant breed dogs like French movies?

Let’s start with the school of filmmaking that puts the “inscrutable” into your local independent theater, or on your flat screen at home.

We don’t pay for cable TV. (We don’t steal it, either, from a neighbor). Instead, we use the poor-man’s Netflix, aka, movies from the local library.

Foreign Movies You Can’t Understand Even with Subtitles

The majority of the films MW and I watch are foreign movies. Some are foreign by virtue of the country they’re from, or the language they were shot in. Others are foreign simply because the stories are so foreign. They’re so different from our North American life that the language or country is effectively meaningless. You could turn off the sound and just watch the screen and know they’re different.

Most of the French movies I’ve seen fall into the latter category.

France makes a lot of movies. With something like 5,350 movie theaters, France enjoys the highest number of screens to population in the world; 89 screens for every million inhabitants. French filmmakers also enjoy an amazing level of financial support from the French government due to arm-twisting and coercion of the domestic movie distribution and TV industries. As a result, France makes more movies annually than any other country, save for India and the United States.

More than 230 words into this post and you’re probably thinking, “when is he going to talk about dogs?”

Wake Me if Something Happens

Well, it is a widely known secret, and one I’ve verified during many irrecoverable hours of French film-watching that nothing happens in French films.

Maybe Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame should next tackle the mysteries of French scriptwriting and have master symbol decipherer Robert Langdon determine why plot is so frequently absent.

For every Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), an absolutely wonderful film, you’ve got dozens of soporifics like Cache (2005), and Claire’s Knee (1970)

Even Gene Hackman, who especially owes something to France because his most famous movie role was in the French Connection films, opined as a detective in Arthur Penn’s 1975 Night Moves that, “I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry.”

Eric Rohmer and Puppies

How dogs spend their lives

research shows that sleeping on your back is good for spinal health

So how is watching an Eric Rohmer film where absolutely nothing ever happens–he pretty much only made this type–related to puppies?

Get a large breed puppy and almost their entire lives will resemble French cinema. Of the 24 hours our Great Dane puppy Luna spends growing larger every day, she only spends about two actually standing up. The rest are spent rolled on her side, lying belly side down, and even on her back, legs extended skyward above her. She’s alternately sleeping, chewing or just staring.

Why is a Great Dane the best dog breed if you live in an apartment?

When I tell people this, they’re surprised, and often astonished. They watch Luna at the dog park in full flight, ready to play with everyone but the two-year-old Great Dane brindle who has watched the movie Fight Club too often. She certainly appears active while racing through the grass as either pursuer or prey.

What these observers don’t see is that within 5-6 minutes of arriving home and getting a drink of water, she’s sinking down on the sofa, the carpet, our bed upstairs, or her own bed. She’s ready for hours of recovery and repose.

For the vast, vast majority of their lives, Great Danes don’t do much. They sleep. They gobble meals. (Luna spends a total of about 4.5 minutes of every day eating). They drink with haste. They twitch an ear up or down. Raise an eyebrow. They epitomize and define languor. They live by not really moving. They could star in a French movie.

And that’s why a Great Dane is the best choice of dog breed if you live in an apartment.

The fortunate difference, however, between a Great Dane and losing another two hours of your life watching yet another unwatchable French exercise in tedium is that a Great Dane will love you back. You’ll be better off for the time you spend in their company, which I haven’t been able to say very often in two decades of watching products of the French film industry.

I’ll take a Luna over an Eric Rohmer any day.

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