Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quill (Rhoades)

“Quill” – a Dog Movie
For Grown-ups

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My friend Karen Prince sometimes nurtures guide dogs before turning them over for training. It’s almost like being a surrogate mother, caring for a youngster then giving that child up to its future.
“Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog” is the story of a yellow Labrador Retriever puppy who has been chosen to be a guide dog for the blind. This Japanese film is structured like a documentary, introducing the litter of five, watching Quill join a married couple who are “puppy walkers,” then after a year going off to a training center, and then accompanying a cranky blind journalist named Mitsuru Watanabe to become his “eyes.”
Health complications interrupt Quill’s service, eventually turning him into a demonstration dog at the training center. We follow Quill from birth to his death at the age of 12 (people years). Sad, but not quite in the “Old Yeller” vein.
If you’re a dog lover – and who isn’t? – you will enjoy this love poem to a service dog. It’s showing this week at the Tropic Cinema.
The blind journalist is played by Kaoru Kobayashi, winner as Best Actor at the 30th Yokohama Film Festival. Four different-age dogs stand in as Quill, although a lab named Rafi portrays him throughout most of the film.
Director Yoichi Sai is said to have based this on a true story. It will make you tear up. As someone who lived with a wonderful yellow lab for years, I can attest to that.

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