Daily life at the Los Reyes skate park in Santiago, Chile, is unremarkable, but as Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff’s wonderfully original film unfolds, we become aware that human affairs — of street cleaners, small-time drug dealers, and skateboarders — are incidental to the real story here. The stars of this film are its two canine subjects — Football and Chola. While human life passes them by, occasionally inconveniencing them or offering them a treat, Los Reyes offers us the world of these two old dogs. Football seeks out a new improvised chew toy, as Chola makes friends with the local skaters and invents a new game for herself. As the film goes on, the human realm recedes and the viewer finds themself thoroughly immersed in this dog’s eye view of life.
You don’t have to be a “dog-person” to be moved by the simple eloquence of Chola and Football’s daily concerns. When documentary is at its best, it shows us the world from the point of view of someone different from ourselves — In Los Reyes, Perut and Osnovikoff go one step further by giving us the point of view of another species. And in an age of environmental crisis there may be something profoundly important in taking the nonhuman world more seriously. In doing so, Los Reyes may well be the first triumph of post-humanist filmmaking. -JC