The competition was fierce, but Luke and Body’s remarkable acting range in the film White God won the jury over in Cannes on Friday as they awarded the two mongrels the “Palm Dog” for canine talent.
The two golden-furred brothers shared the role of Hagen in the latest movie by Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo — a strange, dystopian canine thriller that had critics intrigued.
Describing the film as “The Expendables for dogs,” Kate Muir, chief film critic at London’s the Times, revealed the winner of the unofficial Palm Dog at a pooch-studded ceremony attendeds by former Bond girl Imogen Diamond and her dog, James Blond.
Receiving the red, white and blue toy bone on behalf of Luke and Body — who unfortunately could not be there — Mundruczo said it had been a pleasure to work with the two mongrels, who are young newcomers to the movie industry.
“It was really great to watch how these two races can cooperate,” he said after the opener of White God was broadcast on a screen, showing a girl on a bicycle being chased by a pack of wild dogs on a deserted street in Budapest.
Later on Friday, White God took top honors in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, which seeks to recognize new talent and encourage innovative, daring work.
In the story, Luke and Body’s character Hagen is dragged through heartbreak and violence after being abandoned on the side of a highway, before toughing up and exacting his revenge on human beings with the help of fellow wronged mutts.
The alternative Palm Dog award has become something of an institution at the festival, presented annually with a touch of humor by a panel of prominent film critics.
This year, Luke and Body’s star turn in White God capped a festival that has seen several remarkable performances by man’s best friend.
“Every year, I am sorry to say, I receive what I can only describe as joshing from the French journalist community: ‘Oh you Anglo-Saxon eccentrics, you and your dogs,’” said Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw, a member of the Palm Dog jury. “Well, I can only say that nobody can doubt the importance of dogs this year at Cannes.”
In other canine star moments at the festival, film legend Jean-Luc Godard cast his own dog as Roxy in his incomprehensible, 3D Palme d’Or contender Goodbye to Language.
Roxy makes frequent appearances in the film barking, playing in snow, lying on a sofa or whining, providing some serenity in an otherwise frenetic patchwork of vivid scenes and philosophical musings.
And in Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, the bravura performance of a bulldog playing the beloved Moujik of late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent had viewers raving.
In the film, Moujik suffers a tragic death when the dog vacuums up a load of pills that his drug-addicted master accidentally spilled on the floor.
However, White Dog won the day, and while Luke and Body were rewarded for their acting, Mundruczo gave a special mention to the rest of the cast: some 250 street dogs... and a few humans too.
Previous winners of the Palm Dog include a white poodle who played the part of a blind pet owned by Liberace as well as terriers Smurf and Ged, which featured in British black comedy Sightseers.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday