A manifesto and propaganda for the nascent World Dog Alliance in Hong Kong, the advocacy documentary “Eating Happiness” boasts a polemic against the consumption of dog meat in mainland China, South Korea and Vietnam.
It’s tough to stomach in more ways than one. Abuses by poachers — as well as canine carcasses piling up at the abattoir and inside food-stand vitrines — disturb and devastate à la Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoarding.” A capricious, counterintuitive narrative also renders the film nearly unwatchable.
It’s a shame because it not only spotlights passionate Chinese animal-rights advocates who exhaust their savings to spare dogs from the chopping block but also attempts to comprehend the rationale behind the practice.
The film is the pet project of multimillionaire Genlin, also known as Hiroshi Horiike, who’s been in the news the last few years for a legal dispute with Hollywood real estate agent Chris Cortazzo over the square footage of his $12.25-million mansion in Malibu. He’s often seen here dressed like a Warholian dictator with the costume-change frequency of André Leon Talley, pensively surveying the landscape.
His broken-English narration sounds like a self-serious essay written by an ineloquent grade schooler that few can take seriously. By aiming at a Western audience, he’s barking up the wrong tree. Then again, the “Sample for Oscars” watermark appearing throughout the review copy makes clear his ulterior motive and delusions of grandeur.
MPAA rating: R for some disturbing images of animal cruelty.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Playing: At Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena.
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