White Dog: A bold, thought-provoking film

It’s a very delicate subject that Anas Barbeau-Lavalette tackles in his new film. white dogThe adaptation of Romain Carey’s autobiographical novel is inspired by his experience in America during the 1968 race riots, but he tackles it with great sensitivity and signs a brave work that provokes reflection.

April 1968. French writer Romain Cary (Denis Menochet) lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress and activist Jean Seberg (Casey Rolle), and their son Diego. Riots broke out across America following the assassination of Martin Luther King. One morning, the couple sees an abandoned German shepherd appear on their doorstep. Before discovering that the animal had been trained to attack black people, they decided to accept it.

When everyone advises him to euthanize the dog, Romain Carey refuses to accept the idea, saying it goes against his humanitarian values. The novelist instead decides to bring the dog to a kennel to hand him over to Keyes (KC Collins), an African-American trainer who will try to “cure” him.


white dog Already brought to the screen in 1982 by American filmmaker Samuel Fuller. Forty years later, Anas Barbeau-Lavalette (Goddess of fireflies) offers a very different reinterpretation of Carey’s work. The death of George Floyd in the spring of 2020 and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement prompted the Quebec filmmaker to update the subject of this story to reflect this question. Not his, and if so, how to do it?

A view of the white dog

Photo Courtesy, Go Films

A view of the white dog

Using the metaphor of the white dog, Anas Barbeau-Lavalette tackles the complex and subtle issues of white privilege and systemic racism.

Even though this is his most ambitious film to date, we can clearly identify Anas Barbeau-Lavalette’s style of sticking with the characters by multiplying the close-ups on their faces and capturing their emotions in the flower of the skin.

French actor Denis Menochet gives a tremendous performance in the guise of the fragile and moving Romain Carey. The film is punctuated with archival footage showing demonstrations of the period, but also with some sublime poetic sequences. However, the filmmaker lacks a bit of subtlety towards the end of his film by overemphasizing the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter.

white dog ★★★★☆

Photo by Anas Barbeau-Lavalette with Denise Menochet, Casey Rolle and Casey Collins. display.

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