White God (Magnolia Pictures, R)

white god_75Following multiple unsuccessful search attempts, Lili is forced to return back to her normal life, and Hagen’s adventurous journey through the merciless city of Budapest begins.


 

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All the way from Hungary, winning the Cannes Film Festival Uncertain Regard Award, comes this story of love, friendship, rebellion, and revenge by writer and director Kornel Mundruczo. After a little too-realistic beginning of animal cruelty shots at the slaughterhouse, we are introduced to Lili (Zsofia Psotta) and Hagen, who are best friends—one a thirteen-year-old girl, the other a crossbred dog. Soon enough they are both dropped off to Lili’s father Daniel (Sandor Zsoter) for the summer, and he makes it very clear that the dog is not welcome.

All crossbreeds, or “mutts,” are supposed to be reported to the police in order to be taken to an animal shelter and be put down, or a large tax must be paid to keep the impure breeds. Naturally, Daniel’s neighbor reports the dog, and after numerous arguments with Lili, Daniel decides to abandon the dog on the side of the road even through his daughter’s obvious distress. Following multiple unsuccessful search attempts, Lili is forced to return back to her normal life, and Hagen’s adventurous journey through the merciless city of Budapest begins.

He is captured numerous times, sold, drugged, and forced to kill in dogfights. His teeth have been filed down to pointy fangs, and all the gentle kindness he once had in his eyes is now gone. After escaping one last time, Hagen manages to release hundreds of hounds from the ruthless dog-killing shelter, and together they plague the deserted streets of Budapest seeking payback. Enough is enough and Hagen is coming after every person who wronged him, all the way back to Lili who betrayed him first.

All of the 274 dogs used in this film (no CGI) are mixed breeds adopted from animal shelters—don’t worry, no animals have been hurt during the making of this film. The beautiful Hagen is played by twin pups Luke and Brody, who were found in a caravan park in Arizona. Together, they won the Cannes Palm Dog award for White God.

Mundruczo surely knows how to build up tension and won’t let you exhale or relax even for a minute. I recommend checking it out. | Lea Vrábelová

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