White Dog (1982 dir. Samuel Fuller)
Despite its occasional melodrama, I think this film’s exploration of racism is too powerful to go unnoticed.
A woman befriends a white dog, only to learn that it has been trained to attack black people on sight. The movie becomes a battle of wills between the dog and a determined black trainer.
There is something so basic and compelling about this premise. To personify racism as a rabid beast gives us a visceral image of racism’s ugliness. It’s incredibly unsettling to see this dog, smeared with blood after just attacking someone, cuddling with its white owner. And the choice of dog was apt; he is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. He can change from puppy-like to wolf-like in a split second.
What I like the most about this film is that we’re forced to confront some hard questions about racism. Is it too engrained in the human condition to fully remove?