This video of Tilda Swinton’s Springer Spaniels cavorting in pastoral Scotland to a Handel aria performed by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo won’t cure what ails you, but it is definitely good medicine.
Swinton and her partner, artist Sandro Kopp, filmed the beautiful beasts in such a way as to highlight their doggy exuberance, whether moving as a pack or taking a solo turn.
The title of the aria, “Rompo i Lacci,” from the second act of Flavio, translates to “I break the laces,” and there’s no mistaking the joy Rosy, Dora, Louis, Dot, and Snowbear take in being off the leash.
Flashbacks to their rolypoly puppy selves are cute, but it’s the feathery ears and tails of the adult dogs that steal the show as they bound around beach and field.
The filmmakers get a lot of mileage from their stars’ lolling pink tongues and willingness to vigorously launch themselves toward any out of frame treat.
We’ve never seen a tennis ball achieve such beauty.
There’s also some fun to be had in special effects wherein the dogs are doubled by a mirror effect and later, when one of them turns into a canine Rorschach blot.
The video was originally screened as part of Costanzo’s multi-media Glass Handel installation for Opera Philadelphia, an exploration into how opera can make the hairs on the back of our neck stand up.
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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.