Rent White God (2014)

3.3 of 5 from 193 ratings
1h 56min
Rent White God (aka Fehér Isten) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
'White God' is a stunning allegory of the oppressed few savagely fighting hack against their privileged abusers. When a new law is passed penalising non-pedigree dogs, legions of abandoned mongrels stage an apocalyptic uprising against their tormentors.
Actors:
Zsófia Psotta, , , , , Gergely Bánki, , Károly Ascher, , Body, Bence Csepeli, , Csaba Faix, Edit Frajt, , Péter Gothár, , , András Hídvégi, Ferenc Lakatos
Directors:
Producers:
Eszter Gyárfás, Viktória Petrányi
Writers:
Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, Kata Wéber
Aka:
Fehér Isten
Studio:
Metrodome
Genres:
Drama
Countries:
Hungary, Drama
Awards:

2014 Cannes Un Certian Regard

BBFC:
Release Date:
03/08/2015
Run Time:
116 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
Hungarian
Subtitles:
English
Bonus:
  • Making Of
  • Deleted Scenes

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Reviews (3) of White God

Dog lovers be prepared to close your eyes now and again. - White God review by DF

A word of warning for dog lovers; treat this movie with caution. It may upset. Nevertheless, as a movie, it has merit, but quite honestly I did not enjoy it; parts of it are brutal (I did investigate and it has been affirmed that no dogs were harmed or mistreated in the movie).

The movie has allegorical themes about oppression, exploitation, racism and authoritarian government. There are also themes around 'coming-of-age and relationships (post-modern). Although dogs take, as it were - the limelight, for me they did not register as characters. There is some attempt as characterising the dogs in a 'disney' sort of way. The main human character is Lili, a young 13 year old, played very well by Zsofia Psotta, who suddenly finds herself and her dog, Hagen, relocated with her father (divorced). Father is somewhat grumpy and awkward about the arrangement, especially about Hagen and he sets about getting rid of the dog. Hagen's breed type is out of favour and subject to a new government tax levy. Hagen is thrown out in the street and abandoned. Avoiding a very enthusiastic troop of official dog-catchers, Hagen is eventually picked up by a collection of crooks and ne'r do wells who horribly mistreat him. Hagen, however, will return later with his fellow mistreated to wreak revenge; not pleasant. In the meantime, Lili finds herself very much alone, trying to recover Hagen and coping with the rather strange backdrop of the school orchestra where she plays trumpet under the direction of a rather 'fascist' teacher-conductor. Coming-of-age is a popular theme in movies; sometimes treated in a voyeuristic and seedy manner but Lili's character thankfully avoids this stereotyping. There are some pretty effective scenes of dogs charging around the city (I take to be Budapest?) which is set as a fairly miserable place.

Although the movie is ostensibly allegorical, for me there were some disturbing stereotyping of the 'baddies' in that they were blatantly portrayed as being migrants or ethnic Romany. This I found this disturbing or perhaps I was missing a more nuanced point? Dog lovers be prepared to close your eyes now and again. And the ending of the movie? Mmmmmm......

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Surprisingly Good - White God review by nm

Thought I would find this very hard to watch because I am a dog lover but it was bearable. Two beautiful dogs played the lead and the trainers did a fabulous job with them. It is a dreary film and atmospheric of the time and place. The story line is believable and the actors are all very professional and likable (except for the baddies). For me, it had a rather abrupt ending but goodness prevailed. I would recommend this film but be prepared to wince a little.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

It's not about dogs (doh) - White God review by PW

For once the extras were worth watching. How an incredible dog loving American turned a host of dogs into unhurt actors was impressive. But this is a Hungarian film. Hungary where Viktor Orban has made any immigration almost impossible. This is a parable where all dogs barring pure bred Hungarian breeds are unacceptable. I was disturbed at my own emotions when I imagined the dog being hurt, more than the ubiquitous human suffering in most films. Yet the power of the canine 'acting' and the human story carries the viewer to new places. Very different from anything I've seen before, well worth a watch.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

White God (aka Fehér Isten) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Too long I have endured the endless onslaught of the cute dog movie vehicle. Be it an overly heartwarming tale of the mutt who saved Christmas or the canine companion who tragically ascends to doggy heaven, the dog genre of film has become a tired and repetitive joke. And then there are those rare instances where somebody finally makes a movie where a dog is used as more than just emotional fluff.

In the case of White God, we finally get to see a dog with real character and an arc. When the mixed-breed of Hagen finds himself forced onto the street by a rash father fed up with her daughter, he goes on a dangerous journey through mean streets of a Hungarian city. But there are no kind souls to help him get home. Everyone seems to be out to either exploit or murder Hagen. A group of dogcatchers seek to exterminate him. A hungry bum wants to sell him. A greedy gangster wants to train him for dog fights. And I can only assume the butcher wants to serve him up based on how he attacks him with a knife. On this adventure, Hagen is transformed from an average dog loyal to her master Lili to a savage beast who must kill to survive.

On the human side of the story is the unsure Lili, a girl on the brink of growing up with nobody to confide in. Forced to play the trumpet and scowled at by her parents, her only friend is Hagan - the only being that seems to actually appreciate her trumpet playing rather than find flaws. When her dog is removed from the picture, Lili finds herself headed down a dark path as well. Parties and drinking begin to become an escape as she struggles to find someone decent and caring in such an unforgiving world.

While Lili’s story is a solid one of a girl’s adolescence, it’s Hagen’s journey that steals the show and the entire third act. All of his scenes are displayed without narrating dialogue - a common method of such simple stories as Homeward Bound or Milo & Otis. Though I imagine that if there were voiceover for Hagen, it would most certainly be an actor akin to Ron Perlman or Liam Neeson. Hagen’s walk through the streets is a brutal filled with blood and death. You can slowly see the poor pooch become consumed by the world hate he is bred to live in. When forced to kill another dog for sport, he looks over the corpse of his opponent as a terrifying victory. By the time he is captured by a pound more than eager to put down their inmates, Hagen has come to terms with the kill-or-be-killed mentality.

It is then that the film takes a turn that could be incredibly silly as Hagen leads a legion of dogs into battle on his murderous path of revenge. Just watching the cold opening tease of the revolt gives the impression of this being a more sci-fi tale ala Planet of the Dogs. Thankfully, the dogs don’t take over the Earth nor do any dogs learn to speak the language of man. It’s just a group of pissed off animals who want to get bloody revenge on those who wronged them. And it’s a long list given the despicable nature of how humanity is portrayed in the film. With the exception of Lili, all humans hate dogs, hate children and are only looking out for themselves. It’s such a dark and gritty world that you really do hope Hagen and Lili make it through okay with all the scars they receive along the way.

White God has plenty of bark and bite to be one of the most unconventional movies about a dog you will ever see. It gets a little too over the top in trying to makes its world so grim that you sometimes want to look away from the brutality. But it’s a satisfying payoff for the development of both the human and dog actors - masterfully shot and emotionally engaging. And, for once, the emotions are not just about how sweet the dog looks or acts on camera. Hagen becomes as violent and angry as the film progresses that you’re more interested in what darker path the dog takes next rather than if he’ll survive. Maybe this is laying too many smarts on such a simple creature, but it’s far more entertaining to watch than just another plucky dog who wants his master or act as fodder for tears.

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