Our perspective of the world is shaped by the eyes we see through and our view of the space around us and how we move through it. Filmmaker Elizabeth Lo accomplishes something provocative in Stray. She truly shows us the world through the perspective and eyes of a group of stray dogs living in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey has a powerfully unique relationship with their canine citizens, as it is illegal to euthanize or capture stray dogs. As Lo says, “Every free-roaming dog today is an emblem of resistance—living manifestations of compassion in the face of tolerance.”
The filming of Stray began with an act of the exploration of compassion and the personal. Lo describes a meaningful relationship with her childhood dog and her grief when he died. This initiated a query into the bonds we have with animals.
The Documentary Film Stray Shares Dog’s Soulful Lives
While literally filming at the dogs’ eye levels, Lo helps us develop meaningful relationships with the soulful protagonists of Stray. The story we watch is their story. Watching Zeytin, the main character, brought me to tears often just by seeing into her expressive eyes and her purposeful way of moving through the world.
To see a dog as a character in themselves, moving with their sense of self-agency, while also interacting with the people and places in Istanbul. We see a glimpse of the world and of humanity that we seldom see ourselves. Lo offers us a perspective on the complicated nature of our humanity through back alley views of overheard conversations and everyday street life. She doesn’t concern herself with packaging a preconceived view or heavily edited of the world, but to reveal truths.
If you love dogs, this is a must-see film. If you want to see the our planet through a completely different view, Lo’s film is a quiet yet powerful experience of mindful attention and awareness of lives often overlooked. We see the value of life in all of its expressions. Watch this not while you are multi-tasking. Allow yourself to be immersed in a view of the world you may never see again in the same way.
Elizabeth Lo is a filmmaker to watch. She has a masterful ability to communicate compassion and other complexities through the subtlety of a story well-told.
Watch Stray with LA YOGA
I had the opportunity, along with Seane Corn, to interview Elizabeth Lo, and to talk to her about the making of Stray.
If you sign up for our screening of Stray, you’ll have the opportunity to watch our interview as well. LA YOGA’s screening of Stray is available for registration by March 21. Hope you can join us! Register for LA YOGA’s screening of Stray!
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.