Gratuitous

This is a curious thing.

I’m curious as to how brutally killing a dog will help bring justice to the four miners.

I haven’t seen the movie (full disclosure), but I’m also curious as to how critical the slaughter of the dog was to the plot of the movie. I saw a photo of a leaked page of the script, and as best I could tell, the killing – and eating – of the pooch was meant to be juxtaposed on the image of some Madame clutching a shih-tzu close to her chest.


Oooh. Let’s portray the dog-eaters as something diabolical, and drive home the imagery by contrasting it with the more gentle and protective treatment of another doggo. Cleverrrr.

OOOH-OOOH-OOOH! Let’s add another layer of meaning!!! Let’s make this Madame an EVEEEL persunh, and then her protectiveness of her shih-tzu will be IRONIC!


Again, I emphasize, I have not seen this movie. But, even by the most generous interpretation I can muster up, I don’t get how killing the dog helped to advance the movie plot, let alone help bring justice to the miners.

The dog was used as bar chow. The filmmakers could have used canned corned beef and we wouldn’t know the difference. Or even care.  And there are a variety of ways to telegraph the malignancy of characters to the audience – a good script will do that, good acting will do that as well. And in case, the audience already knows who the bad guys in this movie were.

In fact, as far as I know, Bicol Today reports that a court hearing is scheduled for April this year. So apparently, the bad guys ARE known and that the gears of justice ARE turning. Are we saying that dog blood and fat is needed to grease those wheels up? Because it doesn’t work that way.

In fact, the statement of one of the actors even specifically said that the killing was meant to only add authenticity. So does this mean that Oro was also supposed to be an anthropological oeuvre?

All things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one. And in this case, it seems to me that the simplest explanation is that killing the dog was intended for shock-value; that dog-eating is in fact part of our shared history and is, again in fact, still being done, well, that’s just for plausible deniability.

Which brings me to the ridiculous push-back. Dudes. An innocent dog was killed so the movie could have a bit more authenticity. Were the producers so unsure of the gravity of the real life murders being dramatized that they needed to up the ante with the gratuitous killing of a blameless animal?

And dudes. The animal wasn’t killed for sustenance! It was killed for film! Unless of course the claim is that the actors had nothing else to eat; that you didn’t have caterers standing by, with their chaffing dishes and three kinds of veggies; that the production didn’t have enough money to contract some local to prepare home-cooked meals for actors and crew. Come ON. Get that straight, wilya?

The objection is not so much against the eating of dog (although there are those who object most strongly to that), as it is against the graphic portrayal of dog slaughter. On film! These are two different things, man.

Killing a dog for food is still not gonna be okay even if no one sees it, but to put it on such display only makes it that much worse. 

And “Alvin Nakassi,” ART? This isn’t art, man. This is either morbid fascination or outright psychopathy masquerading as art.

It was unnecessary and disgustingly gratuitous.That’s the whole point of this outrage. That the movie tried to generate public awareness of a heinous crime is admirable. But the same could have been done without the gratuitous killing of the dog. The people who are outraged at the slaughter of the dog on film are not necessarily without sympathy to the four who were killed. I daresay most of us, when brought face to face with the story of this event, had very strong feelings about it too.

But this outrage does not eliminate space for anger at the inhumanity perpetrated on an animal either. The human heart has room enough to also care about what befalls our non-human planet-mates.We can beat our breasts and rail at the injustice that befall those who stand in the way of power – and most of us do. But dudes, we can also insist that in doing so, we ducking leave the dogs alone.

I really hope everyone sees that.

Anna Cabrera of PAWS owns the featured dog image

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