ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Lessons in Animal Activism from Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs asks whether we are willing to align ideals with actions or remain mute spectators unmoved by the plight of animals.

 

Film-maker Wes Anderson is known for his unique and bold takes on pressing issues. Isle of Dogs (2018) is no exception. A sinister plot unravels, and at its centre, a laboratory-made epidemic leads to the mass exodus of dogs from the city. It is a part of an elaborate ploy designed to hoodwink citizens into parting ways with their best friends, dogs. The narrative is driven by conspiracy, corruption, capitalism, and self-serving interests. The film is set in a dystopian future where an outbreak of snout fever, eerily similar to COVID-19, leads to the banishment of dogs. Spots, the mayoral households guard dog, is the first to be forced into exile. Atari, the mayors nephew, and other young citizens appeal to the mayor and his administration on several occasions to explore all options but to no avail. The murder of a scientist, the sole opposition leader, who formulated a cure for the disease is the breaking point that compels a group of young, diligent, and well-meaning animal activists to risk it all in trying to save an entire species from annihilation.

A stark contrast is highlighted in the film. Older citizens are coerced into silence using violence and intimidation. Young idealistic students continue to draw attention to the issue. The students are persistent, from drawing graffiti to protesting outside the Municipal Dome, they keep the pressure on the administration. The creative, innovative, and non-violent methods employed by animal activists in the film are met with a backlash. Every effort is made to silence the voice of dissent. There is no place for a voice of reason or science either. Young idealistic activists who dared to speak the truth and demand accountability are penalised, ridiculed, and further marginalised. For instance, an exchange student, Tracy Walker, writes an expos on the nexus between the administration, mafia, and industry. As an investigative student journalist, she draws attention to the launch of robotic dogs, a new range of replacement pets. The mayor sanctions her, cancelling her visa, and the deportation process is initiated. Often, telling the truth comes at a heavy price.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.