As predicted, White God (Fehér Isten) by the young Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó experienced a big win at Cannes last week, taking the top award in the sidebar competition Un Certain Regard. Appropriately, the film about a canine uprising also won the Palme Dog award.
The film has been lauded by critics, who consistently compare it to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Thematically similar, White God features packs of dogs running loose in Budapest, with the mission to overthrow society. But the horrific aspects are more than effect, as Mundruczó has serious social themes in mind: “I always use dogs to symbolize minorities,” the director said, as reported by ABC News. “I wanted to tell this tale as a metaphor about the European fears about dealing with minorities.” At the ceremony, the film-maker also acknowledged his canine thespians. “I’m thankful for my team, and deeply, deeply thankful for all of the dogs that collaborated with us.”
In its glowing review, Daily Variety said this: “The words “release the hounds” take on vibrant new meaning in “White God,” a thrillingly strange update of the “Lassie Come Home” formula in which one lost mutt’s incredible journey to sanctuary evolves into a full-scale man-vs.-beast revolution. The sixth and best feature to date from distinctive Hungarian stylist Kornél Mundruczó (…)” The review goes on to give much deserved credit to the Hungarian technical team: “Uniformly outstanding technical credits do full justice to this complex premise, with supple, elastic lensing and editing invaluable in realizing one story world shown from two alternating vantage points,” and calls the entire production “technically masterful.”
While there is no English-language trailer yet, the Hungarian one here has limited speaking, and gives a taste of the thrilling film and Cannes winner.
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