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Film / Citizen Dog

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Citizen Dog (2004) is a very strange (and often very funny) Thai film by Wisit Sasanatieng. Calling it a Romantic Comedy doesn't quite do it justice, although its surrealism and quirky humour have seen it compared to the French film Amélie.

The film follows the day-to-day life of Pod, a Thai Farm Boy who moves to Bangkok looking for a job. Although his old granny warns him that he'll grow a tail if he moves to the city, he does so anyway, and develops a crush on a girl who works in the same building as him. The rest of the film is about the weird, strangely touching adventures they have and the interesting characters they meet.

Has nothing to do with Citizen Kane.

This film provides examples of:

  • Addiction Displacement: Kik, the weird amnesiac guy who licks everything (and everyone) until Pod buys him a bunch of lollipops which he's content to lick instead.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Pod when he sees Jin with Andre. It's Not What It Looks Like, however.
  • An Aesop: Being special isn't all it's cracked up to be. Also, don't try too hard to be happy; let happiness come to you instead.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Pod chops his finger off while working at his crappy job in a cannery. So does Yod. There is no blood, and when the two meet, they exchange fingers (after a break tussle) without any trouble - they snap on like Lego.
  • Brick Joke: So (also coupled with Gilligan Cut) many this could be considered Brick Joke: The Movie.
  • Death by Irony: Kong the taxi driver dies from being hit on the head by a shower of helmets falling from the sky, while riding his motorcycle. He is not wearing a helmet.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Jin, who finds one in environmental activism ... then becomes disillusioned later on when she finds out the activist she believed was martyred is in fact still alive and not a very nice guy, either.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Pod is so enraptured by Jin while in the break room that he keeps adding instant coffee to his cup, spoonful after spoonful, without noticing until she tells him he's not going to sleep if he drinks such strong coffee.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Pod falls in love with Jin and spends the rest of the film pursuing her after meeting her on the elevator at work. Also, Yod and his wife whom he met when they were pushed up against each other on the bus, and spends much of the film trying to win her back.
  • Easy Amnesia: It's speculated that Kik got amnesia from licking postage stamps, which apparently contained some kind of potent neurotoxin, and now he has a strange compulsion to lick things without knowing why.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: It's not explained how Jin can afford to quit her job and become a full-time protestor. On the other hand, she did say her rent was cheap.
  • Gossipy Hens: The other maids at the office building where Jin and Pod work. They love to make fun of her habit of getting emotional over romance stories, ignoring the fact that they do the same thing, only with radio dramas.
  • Granola Girl: Jin, after meeting the hippie foreigner Peter/Andre. She joins an activist group that protests against climate change and spends all her time recycling plastic bottles and planting trees in her apartment.
  • Hyperlink Story: Like Film/Amelie, the plot often branches off to tell a brief side-story about some other character before coming back to the main story.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Both Pod and Jin, although they realize by the end of the film that it's more important to be happy than unique (see An Aesop).
  • Insistent Terminology: Jin's potted plant she carries around is not a corn stalk. It is a corn tree.
  • Living Toys: Mam's long-suffering teddy bear. They even get married at the end of the film.
  • Magical Realism: This is a film where people exchange body parts with ease, a guy dies and comes back to life as a zombie taxi driver because he likes his job so much, a teddy bear starts talking (and chain-smoking), and the main character's grandmother dies and is reincarnated as a talking gecko. Otherwise, most of the events of the film are pretty mundane Slice of Life kind of stuff.
  • MockGuffin: The white book that Jin has been obsessively trying to discover the meaning of turns out to be a gay pornographic novel in Italian.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Pod becomes a celebrity in Bangkok because everyone but him grows a tail. When he goes back home to visit, his family treat him like an idiot.
  • Plot Allergy: Jin is allergic to buses and therefore has to ride on the train to work. Pod takes a job as a taxi driver just so he can have an excuse to drive her every day.
  • Show Within a Show: The serialized romance with Plub Pleung and the Count, which Jin reads during her breaks. At one point the characters even come to life (as rotoscoped life-sized figures, that is).
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Once Pod meets Jin, he never so much as looks at another woman, but thinks about her so much than even the news anchor looks like her in his mind.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Mam, the little girl who thinks she's 22. She spends most of her time at the arcade playing First-Person Shooter games and chain-smoking. Her parents don't argue.