White fang Alexandre Espigares | Review


Published on Oct 22, 2018


This week there is only Bradley Cooper with his A Star Is Born to propose to the audience a beautiful remake by a subject already seen many times in the past, but also the French Alexandre Espigares, who with his version of White Fang realizes the umpteenth movie inspired by the homonymous and famous novel of the american writer Jack London, first in the version from the animated feature film.

And perhaps, even in this case, as in the film of Cooper, we are faced with the best possible version of this story: we tried our Lucio Fulci even with Franco Nero (two times for now, with White Fang in ’73 and the direct sequel to The Return of White Fang ’74), he did Ethan Hawke (the protagonist in ’91 of White Fang – A Big Little Wolf by Randal Kleiser) and, first of all, this story had already been told the Russian Aleksandr Zguridi (1946) and the u.s. David Butler (1936) , but it's Espigares (winner of the Oscar for the best short film in 2014 with the splendid steampunk Mr. Hublot) who first manages to really grasp at the sign, focusing his full virility of the text of London, whose style and dry without squiggles had been able to put on paper the disinterested brutality of nature, which is neither evil nor benevolent, but simply is what it is.

This film tries to do the same thing for most of the time, exploiting much more willingly to the images rather than dialogues, and using the narrator's voice with impeccable precision, but without use it to replace the one that the shots are already showing (i.e. the only sensible way that the cinema has to resort to the technique of the narrator).

The story, for those not familiar, is set in the last years of ‘800 and tells the story of a wolf with a quarter of the blood of the dog in the veins that, in spite of his courage, will be witness to and victim of the cruelty of man. After growing up in the beautiful and hostile lands of the snowy North, White Fang passes from the life of the pack to that of the indian tribe led by Beaver Gray, who welcomes him and protects him and in which he will have to learn to relate to other dogs. From here, however, will end up in the hands of a cruel man, that will make him a fighting dog.

Espigares is good to imitate London when it is needed, namely in the style, changing, however, the point of view of the narration from animals to humans (the original novel was from the point of view of the first, but Espigares renunciation of anthropomorphism) in order to make it more effective, at the film level. The CGI, that pretends to be 2D and very reminiscent of the one used in the graphic adventures from TellTale Games, makes the rarefied and poetic to the story, enriching it with evocative images from the pictorial style, which fit well with the fairytale atmosphere of the narrative.

Especially it is appreciable personality is distinct that the director was able to impress in a work adapted for the cinema countless times and now has a new look, not only more beautiful but also more effective.

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