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The highly personal narrative is the main reason you keep watching No Dogs or Italians Allowed even though the stop-motion animation is rather basic and the storylines are too episodic.

Last year No Dogs or Italians Allowed won the European Film Award for best animated movie. It's easy to see how this handcrafted, idiosyncratic film would appeal to awards voters, but is it really as good as that European accolade would suggest? The short answer is 'no'. The slightly longer answer is 'yes, in certain patches'.

Working in the film's favour is the fact that director Alain Ughetto dives unto his own family's past to uncover a tale that's both very personal and tremendously universal. He recounts how his grandparents migrated from Italy to France in the early 20th century and encountered hardship and opportunities in equal measures.

During the best stretches in No Dogs or Italians Allowed this sucks you seamlessly into some fascinating, funny and touching anecdotes. The choses style also fascinates: Ughetto is a God-like narrator, who converses with his stop-motion grandmother and has the ability to intervene in the charmingly made animation.

This is not enough to hold your attention throughout the film though, even if No Dogs or Italians Allowed barely is 70 minutes long. The anecdotes start to resemble eachother and the stop-motion animation is probably a bit too basic to sustain a feature length movie.

One can only have massive respect for the effort Ughetto put into this extremely personal film, but if that is enough to wholly recommend No Dogs or Italians Allowed, that's another thing.

release: 2022

director: Alain Ughetto

starring: Alain Ughetto, Ariane Ascaride


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