Dogs of the Night (Perros de la Noche)

Director: Teo Kofman
Screenwriters: Pedro Espinosa, Teo Kofman, Enrique Medina

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


The Argentine cinema has established a reputation for sophistication based, in part, upon its focus on the sophisticated middle-class world of Buenos Aires. As rare as it may be to find a film set outside of the capital, it is even rarer to find one set outside of the Argentine middle-class milieu. Thus, Teo Kofman’s choice to make the Enrique Medina novel Perros de la Noche, into am movie attracted particular attention. The novel itself had been banned during the rears of the military dictatorship. Its setting is the demimonde of Argentina’s slums and seedy outposts, a world of marginality which Kofman took on with full vigor in his filmmaking debut.

Beginning with their mother’s death in the opening scene, Mingo and Mecha are left to their own devices. Determined to live off his sister, Mingo escalates the exploitation from garnishing her wages to pimping her out to his friends, finally determining to strike it rich by marketing her around the countryside as a striptease artiste. Told in a brutally straightforward style, Perros de la Noche follows its characters through the increasingly degraded circumstances of their existence. Kofman refuses to sentimentalize either his protagonists or their environment. Nor does he take the easy out of dramatic climax. Rather, slowly and inexorably, he allows the accumulation of details to suggest the conclusion. Just when Mecha’s degradation threatens to become too much to bear, she inherits the consciousness of her own destiny that has been withheld from her—and us—for so long.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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