Baxter

In telling the story of a Dog who talks, French director and co-writer Jrme Boivin has crafted a unique work of satirical bite and ferocious horror. Baxter is a bull terrier living with an old woman (Lise Delamare) in a Belgian suburb. Narrating the film in a half growl (in French with subtitles), the dog tells us he yearns for the human companionship he can't get from this invalid, who fears him. The openly carnal couple across the street are more to his liking. Baxter recalls a street encounter with the woman: "She was barefoot," says Baxter. "She touched my head. That reminded me of certain ... certain desires."

After a few episodes of violence and confusion, Baxter finds what he believes is the perfect master in Charles (Franois Driancourt), a twisted schoolboy who is fixated on the exploits of Hitler and Eva Braun. It's Charles who disciplines Baxter and gives him rules to obey. But when Baxter's sexual needs cause him to break those rules, the dog is forced to fight for his life and principles. Adapted from the Ken Greenhall novel Hell Hound, the film is a moral fable that uses an animal's view of the world to indict the dark side of humanity. Baxter's voice rings true.

From The Archives Issue 605: May 30, 1991
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