DIR: Kornél Mundruczó • WRI: Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, Kata Wéber • PRO: Eszter Gyárfás, Viktória Petrányi • DOP: Marcell Rév • ED: Dávid Jancsó • MUS: Asher Goldschmidt • CAST: Kristy McNichol, Christa Lang, Vernon Weddle, Jameson Parker
Kornél Mundruczó’s third feature was quite well received in Cannes last year. The star dogs even received an award apparently. Taking it’s title from an inversion of Samuel Fuller’s White Dog (1982) the story of a dog trained to attack African Americans, White God tells the tale of Lili and her dog Hagen. The two are separated from each other when her angry, estranged father throws Hagen out of his car after Lili is caught bringing him to her orchestral rehearsals. The two spend most of the film separated from each other. Lili trying to find Hagen whilst preparing for an upcoming production and dealing with her burgeoning womanhood. Hagen suffering a variety of cruel humans culminating in him being turned into a savage beast when he is introduced to the world of dog fights. Finally he leads a revolt at the head of a huge pack of dogs as he goes on a trail of revenge against all those who have treated him badly.
To paraphrase a popular quote; I like dogs but I couldn’t eat a whole one. The film can at best be described as a fable, skirting many genres and reminding one of many films, from The Incredible Journey to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
It is certainly an unusual film but it is also heavy-handed in its characterisation and storytelling. The animal ‘acting’ is far more impressive than the human acting. For all its uniqueness it is also very predictable.
If you love dogs and like your symbolism wielded with the subtlety of an anvil you might like this.
PG (See IFCO for details)
White God is released 27th February 2015