Kornel Mundruczo (Hungary, 1975) debuted with
This I Wish and Nothing More (2000)
Pleasant Days (2002).
Johanna (2005) is a musical based on the story of Joan of Arc.
Tender Son (2010) is loosely based on Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein".
Feher Isten/ White God (2014) is an allegorical fairy tale (that turns
into horror movie) about
street dogs that are expelled from society and even sentenced to die but
eventually rise up against their oppressors. It is also an allegory about
love and hate, a bout a society that teaches hatred (whether through greed,
school discipline or failed marriages) instead of love. The message of the film
is a bit too optimistic: that love can tame the hatred because the ones who
hate are fundamentally good.
A 13-year old girl is biking through the deserted streets of the city when suddenly a large pack of dogs starts chasing her. It feels like a nightmare.
Then she is playing with a dog in
a park, filmed by a hand-held camera.
Then we move into a laboratory where an animal is being dissected, with gory
displays of blood. Specialists are examining whether the meat is suitable
for consumption. The oldest one, presumably the boss,
walks into the bathroom and can't wipe off
a blood stain from his shirt. His assistant hands him a present for his
The parents drive the girl of the bike to the office of this "professor".
The girl has to stay with the professor, her biological father,
because her mother is going to Australia for a while, and the girl
decided to take her dog with her. She is not happy to see the man, and he
is not happy to see her dog. In fact, he tries to leave the dog with a friend.
Lili, though, is so attached to the dog, Hagen, that she even wants to sleep
in the bed with it. Not only the father is not excited about having a dog
in the house, but there are new regulations against street dogs. A neighbor
immediately reports the dog to the authorities, and an officer shows up
to slap a fine on the man.
People are sending their dogs to "shelters" in order to avoid paying the fine.
She even takes the dog to a music class, where he starts barking. The teacher
is upset but she prefers to leave with the dog than be separated from it.
Her father loses his patience and dumps the dog in the street after locking
Lili in the car. The dog, Hagen, runs in vain after the car, and Lili screams
in vain. The following morning Hagen wakes up alone and begins learning
the harsh facts of street life: looking for water and food, avoiding cars, etc.
Hagen is puzzled when it finds the carcass of a street dog.
Hagen is almost killed when it enters a butcher's shop in search of food.
From the top of a hill Hagen watches as the shelter guards chase and
capture street dogs, and barely escapes being captured itself.
Hagen tries to make friends with a homeless man but even this tramp abuses
it: he puts a leash around Hagen and sells it to a man who chains it with many
other dogs for sale in a filthy room.
Meanwhile, the father forces Lili to apologize to the teacher and
join the music class again. But then she gets on the bicycle and rides around
town looking for it and posting notes about it around town.
Hagen is purchased by what looks like a nice man but he turns out to be
a sadist who keeps it in a cage and tortures it scientifically. The purpose
is to make a great fighter out of it for lucrative dog fights. Hagen kills
the first dog it fights, but then stares at the corpse. When the lights
go out, Hagen runs away. Meanwhile, Lili is still roaming the streets of
the city, even if someone stole her bicycle. One night she begs an older boy
to take her to a party, and he asks her to put drugs in her pocket so the
bouncer will not find it. But the police arrests her. Her father now
understands how painful it was for her to lose her dog. Hagen now lives
in the streets and eventually he is captured by
the guards of the shelter. Lili makes peace with her
father and prepares for the symphonic concert conducted by her teacher.
At the same time Hagen is sentenced to be killed, but
Hagen kills the guard and frees the other dogs.
A large pack of dogs now streams into the streets, attacking unsuspecting
humans. They head straight for the symphony hall where Lili is playing.
They surround the audience and start barking furiously. People panic.
The city is locked down. Nobody is in the streets. Lily borrows her friend's
bicycle and looks for Hagen. She is the only person in the streets (the
scene that opened the film). The dogs attack her. She falls from the bike
but they run past her. Hagen tracks down the man who tortured it. The man is
mauled by Hagen and hundreds of dogs. Now it is dark and the town is under
curfew. Lili is still biking around town, the only one not to be afraid
despite all the dead people lying around. The police corners the dogs into a
tunnel and shoots them one by one, but Hagen is still free and killing
those who were mean to it. Lily's father begs her in vain to take shelter.
She retorts that he, not she, is in danger. Hagen finally finds Lily.
Lily tries to talk to it but Hagen just stares at her. And all the dogs
line up after Hagen, ready to attack. Her father comes to her rescue
with fire. Lily grabs her trumpet and starts playing. The dogs shut up,
Hagen sits down, all the dogs sit down.
Jupiter Holdja/ Jupiter's Moon (2017)
Pieces of a Woman (2020)