The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : ‘White God', The Movie: ’Man Bites Dog, Dog Bites Back' - 250 Trained Dogs Seize an Opportunity to Escape from the Animal Shelter, and Revolt Against Mankind

Saturday, March 28, 2015

‘White God', The Movie: ’Man Bites Dog, Dog Bites Back' - 250 Trained Dogs Seize an Opportunity to Escape from the Animal Shelter, and Revolt Against Mankind

A cautionary tale between a superior species and its disgraced inferior... Favoring pedigree dogs, a new regulation puts a severe tax on mixed breeds. Owners dump their dogs and shelters become overcrowded. 13-year-old Lili fights desperately to protect her pet Hagen, but her father eventually sets the dog free on the streets. Hagen and his pretty master search desperately for each other until Lili loses faith. Struggling to survive, homeless Hagen realizes that not everyone is a dog’s best friend. Hagen joins a gang of stray dogs, but is soon captured and sent to the pound. With little hope inside there, the dogs will seize an opportunity to escape and revolt against mankind. Their revenge will be merciless. Lili may be the only one who can halt this unexpected war between man and dog.

When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen, because it's mixed-breed heritage is deemed 'unfit' by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called 'unfit' dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house pet who has learned all too well from his 'Masters' in his journey through the streets and animal control centers how to bite the hands that beats him.

R (for violent content including bloody images, and language)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Kornél Mundruczó
Written By:
Kornel Mundrunczo , Viktoria Petranyi , Kata Wéber , Kornél Mundruczó
In Theaters:
Mar 27, 2015 Limited
1 hr. 57 min.
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site 


The hand that feeds — and also brutalizes — is righteously bitten in “White God,” a Hungarian revenge fantasy that’s like nothing you’ve seen on screen before. The story is as simple as a parable, a campfire story, a children’s book: A faithful animal, separated from its loving owner, endures, suffers, struggles and resists while trying to transcend its brutal fate. The director, Kornel Mundruczo, has said that he was partly inspired by J. M. Coetzee’s devastating novel “Disgrace,” but the movie also invokes haunting animal classics like “Black Beauty” and “The Call of the Wild.”

Like Buck, the four-legged hero of “The Call of the Wild,” the dog protagonist in “White God,” Hagen — played with full-bodied expressivity by the canine siblings Bodie and Luke — is a mixed breed. For his closest companion, a solemn-faced 13-year-old named Lili (Zsofia Psotta), Hagen’s ancestry isn’t an issue, but it is one for those state officials who tax dogs that aren’t purebreds. Lili’s father, Daniel (Sandor Zsoter), who has custody of her for a few months, has no interest in paying the tax or keeping the dog, which is how Hagen ends up on the streets of Budapest, initially alone, then in the hands of a cruel master and then with a pack.

That pack in all its barking, panting, tail-wagging glory is the big payoff in “White God,” which features 250 or so dogs that were trained for the movie, not a computer-generated pooch among them. Mr. Mundruczo has said that his movie was shot using the American film industry’s guidelines on the use of animal performers. That’s not entirely reassuring given the abuses that nonetheless occur during productions, as a ghastly 2013 exposé in The Hollywood Reporter affirmed. Still, viewers concerned about the welfare of the dogs, especially in some of the tougher scenes, should pay close attention to the cunning editing and camera angles as well as all those happy tails. Mr. Mundruczo has also produced, smartly, a reassuring behind-the-scenes video that’s available on YouTube.


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