#MyNFB: Pugs, Paranoia and Pie!
If you’re anything like me, whenever you find yourself staring down the infinite possibilities of a search bar, you inevitably end up typing the word “pug” and hitting “enter.”
I highly recommend trying this pug search yourself as you peruse the offerings at NFB.ca. The result will lead you to discover a delightfully alarmist animated short filled with conspiracies, the evils of technology and, of course… pugs!
Opening with an entrancing shot of two giant bulbous eyes belonging to none other than the eponymous pooch, Monsieur Pug (Janet Perlman, 2014) gets right to the matter at hand, as the canine protagonist issues a grave warning to the viewer to “get rid” of that smartphone (you know, the one you’re likely clutching at this very moment).
Monsieur Pug, Janet Perlman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Viewing the film on my own smartphone, this urgent appeal emanating from my screen instilled a strange twinge of paranoia in me, as I watched Monsieur Pug’s monologue grow increasingly anxious over “the Network” and their malicious intent to control the world. (Some pie and ice cream temporarily soothe the anxious pug, but soon his worries over bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and heartburn jolt back to the wrinkly forefront of his strung-out mind.)
While watching the film, which is just under 10 minutes long, my phone buzzed and beeped, doing its utmost to divert my attention to its texts and notifications.
My immediate compulsion was to obey and tend to the alerts on my screen, but the irony of it all was too apparent, glaring back at me through Monsieur Pug’s googly sad eyes. Was I, too, being controlled by the device in my hand? My phone had just effortlessly hijacked my attention. Perhaps, I thought, Monsieur Pug has a point. Who’s really walking who here?
Monsieur Pug is just the uniquely charming animated wakeup call we all need! His impassioned pleas (or barks), imploring us to regain some semblance of control over how we consume technology and media, ring true in our increasingly plugged-in lives.
The film possesses a compelling tone of urgency, and the Big Brother vibe is only amplified by the gripping sound effects and captivatingly unsettling music.
Monsieur Pug might be a tad further down the paranoia rabbit hole than most, but anyone living in this tech-obsessed, fake-news world of ours is likely to connect with the mounting suspicions of this burnt-out postal worker disguised as a pudgy pug. Really, at the end of the day, aren’t we all just trying to grab a few minutes to unwind with some pie and a relaxing session of origami?
Now, where’d I put my phone…
Hailing from Quebec’s beautiful Eastern Townships, Shannon discovered the NFB’s wonderfully creative content while attending film theory classes at Bishop’s University. Now, as a freelance writer, she contributes to online publications and works on her creative writing and artistic projects in her spare time. Shannon loves to surround herself with music, writing and art. Her heart lies in all-day breakfast joints and she also happens to be mildly obsessed with pugs!