Cannes review: Kornél Mundruczó film is a bit of a dog

Kornél Mundruczó’s latest film White God, which screened at the Cannes International Film Festival, is a classic man-versus-beast tale.
Zsofia Psotta as 13-year-old Lili in a scene from White God. Courtesy Cannes Film Festival
Zsofia Psotta as 13-year-old Lili in a scene from White God. Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

White God

Director: Kornél Mundruczó

Starring: Zsofia Psotta, Sandor Zsoter

Kornél Mundruczó’s latest film White God delves into what he describes as “a cautionary tale between a superior species and its disgraced inferior”.

The Hungarian director and screenwriter and actor who produced the award-winning Delta and its follow-up Tender Son, is no stranger to Cannes, but in this film he experiments with little success.

When a young girl of divorced parents is forced to give up on her mutt Hagen, the dog is traded by a homeless man to a dog dealer, then to a fight-dog trainer, all the while being abused, drugged and beaten.

When the film begins with many dogs chasing the girl Lili (Zsofia Psotta) on her bicycle through the streets of Budapest, the foreshadowing is reminiscent of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.

However in the second half the drama turns into a high class B-movie, prompting several laughs from the audience.

There are lines that kill the credibility of the film – for example when a TV presenter explains a scene where the dogs seem to be seeking revenge as “they seem to attack more like an organised army”.

Mundruczó seems to lose his way towards the ending of the film – even the title remains a mystery.

Khalid Al Mahmood is an in­dependent filmmaker who has been working in the UAE film scene since 2001

Published: May 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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