I first saw My Life as a Dog when it originally appeared in 1985, equally enjoying it again on television this year. And in a year gone "to the dogs," (the connecting link of My Year 2007) how could I resist briefly speaking of Lasse Hallström's moving work, devoted to a child whose has, to his way of thinking, been as unloved and overlooked as the famed Russian mutt, Laika, I describe elsewhere, sent into space, as the child puts it, "without enough food to survive?" The boy, Ingemar, (beautifully performed by the young Anton Glanzelius) has, himself, been lied to, told that his beloved dog, Sicuan, was been sent to a kennel at the moment he himself was shipped off to his uncle's house in the small Swedish town of Kalmar, a move to provide his terminally ill mother some peace; but in fact, as his friend, Saga, tells him late in the film, the pet has been euthanized. Is it any wonder that the child transforms himself into a barking beast, holing up in a kind of doghouse, his uncle's newly built one-room "summer retreat?"
The news that Mr. Fransson is coming down from his roof for his semi-annual bath in the river, electrifies everyone, and, after his uncle breaks down the door to the summer house where Ingemar hides, the boy readily joins him and the other townspeople to witness the swim.
Los Angeles, August 17, 2007