Dogs Smell Like the Sea Dogs Smell Like the Sea

Anastasiya Lisovets’ 2020 student short Dogs Smell Like the Sea is now available on Youtube.

The film first caught our eye at Annecy in 2021. That year, it enjoyed an impressive festival run which included stops at Tallinn Black Nights and the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Anyone who knows dogs understands how easily the animals can be set off by certain noises. In Lisovets’ short, a young woman’s dog reacts excitedly every time the deliveryman rings his bicycle bell. At first, the woman tries to stifle her dog’s excitement. But by the end, she follows the dog’s instincts and decides to get to know the owner of the bell.

The short is visually striking, using all-white and black backgrounds for early scenes of the solitary protagonist locked behind her door. It later switches to brighter and warmer colors when she gets up the nerve to go outside and introduce herself to the stranger.

Characters are delicately painted with watercolors that contrast with the film’s early black and white backdrops, giving the impression that the woman doesn’t belong locked up in the dark of her home. When she eventually steps outside, the protagonist seems to fit in much better with a world that is as bright and colorful as she is.

Lisovets studied at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts in her hometown of Minsk and later at the HSE Art and Design School in Moscow, where she produced and directed Dogs Smell Like the Sea. The short is distributed by Moscow’s School-Studio Shar.

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