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White God aka "Fehér isten" [Blu-ray]
(Kornél Mundruczó, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Pola Pandora Filmproduktions
Video: Magnolia Entertainment
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 40,317,322,022 bytes
Feature Size: 30,539,059,200 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 28th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Hungarian 1814 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1814 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• English (SDH), English,, Spanish, French, None
• Behind the Scenes of White God (17:17)
• Interview with director/writer Kornél Mundruczó (14:42)
• Interview with Animal Co-ordinator/Technical Advisor Teresa Ann Miller (4:43)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:19)
Description: When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is 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 a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet who has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog's best friend.
Kornél Mundruczó's drama White God tells the tale of a tenacious dog and its loving owner, a 13-year-old girl whose parents are engaged in an ugly divorce. Set in Hungary, the movie kicks off as the government passes a law to encourage and control dog breeding that forces those owning mutts to pay an extra tax. This leads to heartbreak for young Lili (Zsófia Psotta), when her frustrated father abandons her beloved dog Hagen on the street in order to avoid the new law. Lili decides to reunite with her dog, while Hagen also longs for Lili, and ends up leading a group of similarly abandoned canines. White God screened at the Un Certain Regard program at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
The hand that feeds — and also brutalizes — is righteously bitten in “White
God,” a Hungarian revenge fantasy that’s like nothing you’ve seen on
screen before. The story is as simple as a parable, a campfire story, a
children’s book: A faithful animal, separated from its loving owner,
endures, suffers, struggles and resists while trying to transcend its
brutal fate. The director, Kornel Mundruczo, has said that he was partly
inspired by J. M. Coetzee’s devastating novel “Disgrace,” but the
movie also invokes haunting animal classics like “Black Beauty”
and “The Call of the Wild.”
A small, touching fable about a girl and her dog becomes an
adrenaline-pumping thriller about animals against humans in Hungarian
filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó's exhilarating radicalization allegory "White
God." By turns Dickensian, Marxist and dystopian, it's a movie as
deliriously unclassifiable as it is expertly focused in its desire to
provoke and entertain.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
White God has a strong dual-layered Blu-ray transfer from Magnolia. This is another modern film shot with the versatile Arri Alexa HD cam. The beginning of the film has some bouncy hand-held gyrations and, mimicking the dog movements can be quite kinetic. The black levels and colors are strong exported by a high bitrate. The outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best. I saw no noise in the night sequences. Marcell Rév's cinematography is deft and well-thought out. The Blu-ray presentation seems like a terrific replication of the theatrical with no flaws in the HD progressive rendering.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Magnolia use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 1814 kbps in the original Hungarian-language. There are effects even beyond the pooches and there are a few notable, head-turning, separations to the rear speakers. The score is by Asher Goldschmidt and supports the films tender and suspenseful moments well. Some may note Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and it sounds wonderful via the lossless. There are optional subtitle choices and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.
Magnolia add some supplements. We get a 17-minute Behind the Scenes piece with input from some of the principals. There is also a 1/4 hour interview with director/writer Kornél Mundruczó (in English) filling in some production and evolution details and there is a brief interview with Animal Coordinator/Technical Advisor Teresa Ann Miller for about 5-minutes discussing the use of dogs in the film. There is also a theatrical trailer. What I thought would have been a great extra is if one or two of the director's early short films (ex. Bianco, Apu, Föpróba, Nuker) were included.
July 23rd, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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