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Posts Tagged ‘“White God”’

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“WHITE GOD” My rating: B

121 minutes | MPAA rating: R

If Stanley Kubrick had remade “Spartacus” with a cast of canines you’d end up with “White God,” the weirdest fantasy you’re likely to encounter this year.

This Hungarian feature from director Kornel Mundruczo at first appears to be a boy-and-his-dog story…only this time the human half of the equation is a 13-year-old girl.

With her mother and stepdad off to a summer of study abroad, Lili (Zsofia Psotta) is stuck with her father, Daniel (Sandor Zsoter), a slaughterhouse meat inspector who lives in a depressing bachelor pad.

Daniel is unsympathetic when Lili shows up with her beloved mutt Hagen (played by two dogs, Luke and Body). His lease doesn’t allow for pets and, given that he spends his days probing the still-quivering corpses of cattle,  he’s not exactly an animal person.

Before long Hagen finds himself out on the streets, separated from his young mistress and learning how to survive. Apparently Budapest has a major problem with feral dogs, for the vacant lots and riverbanks are crawling with them. “White God” wordlessly observes as Hagen joins the pack and learns how to outsmart the animal control crews tasked with rounding  them up.

Things get really bad when our canine hero is captured and sold to a thug who brutally trains the pup to kill in the arena. (Don’t be mislead by the “Lassie Come Home” premise — this film is filled with bad human behavior, from language to drugs to violence. It is most definitely not kids’ fare.)

Hagen’s brutalization is contrasted with the downward spiral of his young owner. Lili takes to roaming the streets alone at all hours. Relations with Daniel are strained. She’s picked up by the cops after a night of drunken partying. Her attitude nearly gets her throw  out of the youth symphony where she plays trumpet better than students several years her senior.

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