Dogs Have No Hell is the contribution of Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki to producer Nicolas McClintock‘s brainchild project Ten Minutes Older (2002). Divided into two parts — The Trumpet and The Cello — Ten Minutes Older comprises fifteen short films made by different directors from around the world.
Nicolas McClintock borrowed the idea from the short film of the same name made in 1978 by director Herz Frank. The project is dedicated to him and his cameraman Juris Podnieks — where the passage of the time is reflected through the emotions experienced by a kid while watching a puppet show with other kids.
The aim of the project was that each director showed his own vision of time on the occasion of the turn of the millennium. Among the fifteen filmmakers who were called for the project we find Werner Herzog, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Víctor Erice, Mike Figgis, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, or Chen Kaige.
All fifteen directors had to fulfill three conditions: as in the original short film, the fifteen shorts had to be ten minutes long, had to talk about time and had to feature a clock at least once.
So in Dogs Have No Hell, Kaurismäki tells us about time through a love relationship, an icy one for sure, in keeping with the modus operandi of the filmmaker.