“Junkyard Dog”, A Chronicle of Love and Friendship

In Film & Series 22 January, 2024

Eva Peydró

Eva Peydró


Junkyard Dog (Chien de la casse, 2023), Jean-Baptiste Durand’s brilliant feature debut, is a chronicle of friendship and also a coming of age in a small town in the south of France. Dog and Mirales spend their days wandering around the village, while ruminating on their own future. The two, though inseparable, could not be more different from each other. Mirales, played by Raphaël Quenard, whom we admired in Yannick (Quentin Dupieux, 2023), is a talkative small-time hustler and caring for his chronically depressed painter mother (Dominique Reymond), and is kind to his older neighbors. In a character without a filter, reminiscent of his role in Dupieux’s film, Quenard seduces us despite the sometimes cruel invectives he directs at Dog, the butt of his jokes, especially for his lack of relationships with women. He talks about his dreams of becoming a chef, in those endless nightly chats with his friends in the darkness of the village streets.

Durand’s style is truthful and measured, completing the framework of narrow horizons of his protagonists, with whom we develop a gradual empathy. The soundtrack, which includes Beethoven’s The Tempest and Fauré’s Nocturne No. 6, is an important element that amplifies the supposed monochrome of simple life, always leaving open the door to the value of art in our lives.

Dog (Anthony Bajon), meanwhile, while waiting to serve in the army and to Mirales’ surprise, begins a relationship with a young woman who has just arrived in town, so their nightly walks and endless teenage conversations are interrupted. The new status quo of the relationship leaves Mirales disoriented, confronted with Elsa (Galatéa Bellugi), in need of relocating in his own life, but that loneliness ends up redefining the true value of their friendship. Perro feroz also explores different aspects of masculinity in the transition to adulthood and the expression of affection between young people of the same sex.

The film, selected in the competition program of MyFrenchFilmFestival, is also a faithful generational portrait, with remarkable performances, whose screenplay is co-scripted by the director with Nicolas Fleureau and Emma Benestan, director of Fragile (2021).

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MyFrenchFilmFestivalJunkyard DogsNicolas FleureauEmma BenestanAnthony BajonRaphaël Quenard

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