White God (Fehér isten)

“Makes you want to kick the next pigeon you come across.”

Judith Crist, On Alfred Hitchcock’s The birds

White God is a mess. But you got to be careful when you say that, because you’re going to anger dog lovers and they might send their dogs after you. The film is about 13-year-old Lili (Zsófia Psotta) and her dog Hagen. Lili and Hagen have to live with Lili’s dad for a few months. For sure Hagen is a beautiful dog, but dad (Sándor Zsótér) does not like Hagen, especially since he’ll have to pay a mixed-breed tax and a license. Actually, no adults in the film likes Hagen. The landlady does not like Hagen. Lili plays the trumpet in a youth orchestra. They are rehearsing for an upcoming performance of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Well, the conductor does not like Hagen. So dad decides to abandon Hagen and Lili looks out the car window crying and Hagen runs after the car and cue in the overly dramatic music (Tannhäuser?). Besides the clichés, we understand the attachment that Lili feels for Hagen. How when she plays the trumpet, he howls. Heck, I was just about to howl too. While Lili is looking for him, Hagen is having a hard time. After befriending other dogs, escaping dog-catchers and other dangers, Hagen is captured and sold for underground dog-fighting. I understand why some people would be uneasy watching scenes where Hagen gets trained to kill. These are terrible scenes of torture. Very exploitative. From a nice heartfelt story about a girl and her dog, to a hard-hitting social drama about animal cruelty. What else? How about a horror movie about dogs seeking revenge? Hagen and his friends escape the dog shelter and go on a ridiculous attack. Ridiculous because Hagen is now their ruler. They follow his orders. The pack of dogs are running down the street. Hagen stops. They stop. Hagen advances. They do the same. And they are going to find Hagen’s enemies and kill them. The landlady, the man who sold him off to be tortured and others. Yes, Hagen knows where they live. Maybe he got their addresses from the computer. And throughout, Tannhäuser is on the soundtrack, to make the whole thing even more laughable than it is. Makes you want to kick the next Hungarian director you come across.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

White God (Fehér isten) 

Directed by:
Kornél Mundruczó
Screenplay by:
Kornél Mundruczó
Viktória Petrányi
Kata Wéber
Zsófia Psotta
Sándor Zsótér
Lili Horváth
Szabolcs Thuróczy
Lili Monori
Gergely Bánki
Tamás Polgár
121 min.
Rated 14A
In Hungarian with
English subtitles

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