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October 3–9, 2014

Chicago Premiere

The Dog

Film still: The Dog Film still: The Dog Film still: The Dog Film still: The Dog
Critics' Pick "An absorbing, rollicking documentary"
  —New York Times
"The subject of Dog Day Afternoon makes a surprisingly charismatic tour guide through the early gay-rights movement... a spunky yet surprisingly sad portrait of a sexually liberated man held captive by his past"
"Romantic, crazy, and essential"
  —New Yorker
Recommended "Oddly compelling... it'll leave you alternately amused and slack-jawed in astonishment"
"A wonderfully weird documentary... directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren...have evoked not simply a time and place but, most central, an extraordinary figure who has the stature of a fictional creation"
  —Film Journal Intl
4 stars "The Dog is a triumph... o-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren seem to be operating from a place of nonjudgmental curiosity, so pure and sustained that it becomes indistinguishable from love"
Recommended "[Al Pacino's portrayal] hardly captures the complications in the rich, even implausible life of Wojtowicz"
  —NewCity Chicago
"Nothing deters the profane Little John [Wojtowicz], who exhibits gifts for self-aggrandizement second to none, and for making both mundane and sordid details tremendously absorbing"
  —Windy City Times
3 stars½ "The film is a real 'whew'-factor yarn, a hearty soup of thick accents, bold personalities and complicated motives, with an unmistakable taste of charismatic, ornery American hedonism"
  —Chicago Tribune

On August 22, 1972, John Wojtowicz attempted to hold up a Chase Manhattan branch in Brooklyn. He went in with two accomplices, one of whom lost his nerve and walked away. Wojtowicz's objective was to pay for a sex change for his wife, a transvestite named Ernie, that spurred him to realize, in his own words, "I had to do something." The robbery devolved into a 14-hour standoff, with nine bank employees as hostages, that magnetized the attention of the neighborhood and then of the entire city, which ended tragically for Wojtowicz's partner in crime.

Three years later, Al Pacino portrayed his character in the award winning film, Dog Day Afternoon, an American classic which had such a profound influence on Wojtowicz, so that when he emerged from prison six years later, he became known as "The Dog." The film become a cultural phenomenon, and it changed Wojtowicz's personality.

Filmed over the course of a 10-year period by co-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, The Dog interweaves extraordinary archival footage on the robbery, 70s era interviews and the early gay liberation movement in which "The Dog" played an active role. Their long-term dedication pays off in this unforgettable portrait capturing all of the subject's complexity: he is, by turns, lovable, maniacal, heroic, and self-destructive. John Wojtowicz is the rare subject whose real life was more complex, more borderline-unbelievable and more gloriously strange than the one presented on the big screen.

Directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, U.S.A., 2014, 100 mins.


  • Fri., Oct. 3 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Oct. 4 at 5, 7 & 9 p.m.
  • Sun., Oct. 5 at 3, 5 & 7 p.m.
  • Mon.–Thurs., Oct. 6–9 at 7 & 9 pm
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$9 general admission

FREE for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation