Look at him. Cute widdle doggie. His eyes are bright, his tongue hangs out wetly. What can he be thinking? -- "I love you, Master," "I will obey you, Master," perhaps even, "You are a god, Master."
Or possibly, "I would like to eat you, human scum."
The French director Jerome Boivin certainly prefers the latter. His haunting, provocative "Baxter," opening today at the Charles, is a dog's eye view of the human race, deconstructed of anthropomorphizing sentimentality. It's "Benji" with attitude.
"Baxter" takes our hero through three human households in pursuit of a perfect master. The fascination of the piece is that Boivin absolutely refuses to sentimentalize the dog.