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The Distant Barking of Dogs: Discussion Guide

Discussion Prompts: Gender

In a scene where Kostya and Oleg are exploring, they begin to hear bombing or shooting nearby. Kostya asks Oleg if he wants to go home. Oleg declines and tells Kostya, “We’re men. We have to be able to endure everything.” What do you think Oleg means when he says this? What do you think Oleg’s relationship is to his own feelings of fear, and how are those feelings influenced by cultural expectations about masculinity?

Soldiers are typically referred to as men in the film. How do you think this ongoing conflict and the role of men in the army have affected gender dynamics in the country? How have they impacted how Oleg and the young boys in the film see themselves as boys and men?