'Mom, What’s up With the Dog' by Lola Lefèvre: Film Review

Mom, what's up with the dog animation still

French animation artist and director Lola Lefèvre graduated from Atelier de Sèvres with her 2D computer animation short, 'Mom, What’s up With the Dog' (Maman, il a quoi le chien?). The mature audience film features the 11-year-old Gwen, who lives with her parents and her dog. Her growing interest in her sexuality coincides with her dog's weird behavior (including his laughing). Is there a similarity here to be unveiled?

Influenced by graphic novels, and the world of Egon Schiele and Toulouse Lautrec, Lola Lefèvre came up with the idea of a laughing dog in one restless sleep night. She never had a dog (but she always felt she could connect with them); she decided to combine the laughing dog idea with the idea of a young woman's sexuality. Especially when she also discovered in a book that a woman who laughs out loud is considered "bestial" and "lewd". The perfect combination.

Film Review (Vassilis Kroustallis):

Writing and filming about dogs is no laughing matter -or is it? Lola Lefèvre overturns both our complacent conception of dogs as creatures to be cuddled (and also our conception of dogs as creatures to be feared). Her laughing dog is a curious dog that can channel its sexuality concerns in a way that Lola cannot -therefore a transference needs to take place. In a family environment whose rigidly designed lines in all walls make it look more like an animated engraved prison, Gwen and her lush hair (her only visible sign of independence) fight to know in a "bestial" way what she cannot otherwise be told. The scene sequences are perfectly designed to alternate between dog and human behavior till Gwen escapes her place and goes out in the open (with the appropriately placed 'In the Explosion' Ulster Page music). Lefèvre crafts a mature comedy that neither angers nor placates; it only scratches consistently a surface to reveal what is underneath, and makes a highly successful film in the process.

Watch the full film on YouTube (mature audiences)

Original title: Maman, il a quoi le chien ? (Mom, What’s Up With the Dog? 2021) | Director: Lola Lefèvre  | Production: Atelier de Sèvres  |  Animation: Grégoire De Bernouis, Joël Durand, Manon Verrey  | Scenario, Script: Lola Lefèvre  | Editing: Lola Lefèvre  | Sound mixer: Raphaël Aucler  | Sound editor: Lola Lefèvre  | Mix: Borna Buljević  | Soundtrack: Eliott Delafosse, Ulster Page (Groupe)  | Voice: Athéna Dias, Lola Lefèvre, Laurent Nicolas 

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