Kornel Mundruczo’s latest film, White God presents a powerful metaphor for race, political, and class oppression by portraying a world where dogs (specifically "mutts") rise up against the humans who have mistreated them. After spending months on the festival circuit, the movie is finally getting ready for release, and now we have the first trailer, which you can see below.
White God brings a bit of a new take to the Homeword Bound-style story. While the heart of the plot centers around Hagen the dog and Lili the human reuniting after being separated because Hagen is an unfit mixed-breed dog, the movie’s depiction of the "unfit" dogs joining together to rise up against oppression is certainly a message that cannot be missed. Though the film is Hungarian, it is certainly timely for American audiences given the events that have unfolded in places like Ferguson.
In addition to the film’s poignant metaphor resting beneath the story, White God also breaks from the norm in the animal story genre by telling a great deal of the tale from Hagen’s perspective, in addition to the more commonly used human perspective. Seeing the events unfold from Hagen’s eyes make the dog’s journey from beloved pet, to outcast, to revolutionary leader quite a bit more powerful than if we were watching his transformation from a third person perspective. It also looks to help drive the film’s underlying message of injustice home, assisting the viewer step into Hagen’s shoes for a moment.
If the powerful metaphor on human cruelty doesn’t sell you, and the poignant drama of a dog searching for home and justice don’t tug at your heartstrings, the fact that film is full to bursting with dogs should certainly win you over. Because of the sheer number of canines in the film, Mundruczo was told he would have to use only pedigree pups if he wanted to have any sort of order on set. However, as The New York Times reports, Mundruczo rejected that idea, and got all of his canine actors from surrounding shelters, and trained them in small group for six months before bringing the puppy horde together for filming.
Working with the dogs reportedly proved to be quite the amazing experience for the cast and crew of White Gods. Apart from the amazing experience of getting to hang out at work with hundreds of dogs each day, the amount of love and caring that circulated between the cast and crew and the dogs was almost a form of therapy for all involved. And don’t worry about the future of those rescued dogs. The love certainly didn’t stop when filming wrapped. Mundruczo and his team implemented an adoption program, finding a home for each canine actor.
Mundruczo’s film has already made quite a splash, earning official selection from the Sundance Film Festival, and winning the Prize Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. White God will release in theaters everywhere on March 27, 2015.