I don’t usually get excited this early over Sundance films but I started to drool when a notice about White God crossed my computer. I had just finished tweeting about the new changes in breed ban laws in Utah and here is a movie about dogs taking over the world.
White God won the Prize Un Certain Regard Award at this year’s Cannes Festival for its modern day twist on Animal Farm. Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó has created a staggering vision of dogs driven to rise up against their human masters. The movie used a cast of more than 200 dogs to depict everything from bonding with fellow street mutts to dramatic chase sequences as the dogs tear through the city. This certainly doesn’t sound like a Disney dog tale.
When 13-year-old Lili has to give up her beloved dog Hagen, because it’s mixed-breed and deemed ‘unfit’ by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called ‘unfit’ dogs rise up under their new leader, Hagen, the one-time housepet who has learned all too well from his ‘Masters’ in his journey through the streets and animal control centers how to bite the hands that beat him.
White God (Dog spelled backwards?) is a story about the indignities animals suffer by their supposed “human superiors.” It’s also a brutal, cinematic metaphor for the political and cultural tensions sweeping contemporary Europe.
It’s being screened in the Spotlight category (North American Premiere) Friday, Jan. 23, 9:00 pm, at the Salt Lake City Library Theatre, Sunday, Jan. 25, 8:30pm at The MARC in Park City and Saturday, Jan. 31, midnight at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City.