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White Mane (The Criterion Collection)

20 customer reviews

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(Apr 29, 2008)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the south of France, in a near-desert region called La Camargue, lives White Mane, a magnificent stallion and the leader of a herd of wild horses too proud to let themselves be broken in by humans. Only Folco, a young fisherman, manages to tame him. A strong friendship grows between the boy and the horse, as the two go looking for the freedom that the world of men won t allow them. Long unavailable in the U.S., this extraordinarily shot wonder from Albert Lamorisse, the director of The Red Balloon, is a work of technical sophistication and immense natural beauty.

As in Albert Lamorisse's classic fable The Red Balloon, a boy forms a unique attachment in the less fanciful, if equally lyrical White Mane. While the 1956 color film takes place in modern Paris, the filmmaker's 1953 effort plays like an old black and white western. In the opening sequence, White Mane ("Crin Blanc") enjoys a life of freedom in the dusty Camargue region of Southern France. Local cowboys, portrayed by the herdsmen of Les Saints-Maries-de-la-Mer, attempt to capture him, but the wild horse keeps evading their clutches. Young fisherman Folco (Alain Emery), who lives with his grandfather and younger brother (the director's son, Pascal, star of The Red Balloon), finds himself entranced by the proud creature. In Folco's dreams, they become friends, but the horse prefers to associate with his own kind. That dynamic starts to change once White Mane realizes Folco isn't like the adults trying to tame him. The boy doesn't want to change the horse, and a relationship develops based on mutual trust. This luminous transfer features spare narration, in French or a newly-recorded English version, and minimal dialogue in favor of a flute-dominated score and chase-oriented action (which may be too intense for younger viewers). Just as the 34-minute Red Balloon won an Oscar, the 40-minute White Mane won a Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (the two often screen together). Other than the trailer and an essay from Michael Koresky, this long-awaited release forgoes special features. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New English narrations spoken by Peter Strauss
  • New theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

Product Details

  • Actors: Alain Emery, Laurent Roche, Pascal Lamorisse, Clan-Clan, Francois Perie
  • Directors: Albert Lamorisse
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 40 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012Z361W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,332 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "White Mane (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on May 14, 2008
Format: DVD
I gasp at the beauty of this film...the only way to describe it is to imagine a nature photograph of Edward Weston or Ansel Adams coming to life. The story is simple enough. A wild horse that runs free in the South of France is captured by some French "cowboys", yet refuses to be tamed and breaks free. Despite several efforts of the cowboys to retrieve this pick of the horses, White Mane will only allow himself to be handled by a young boy - the son of a fisherman in harmony with nature. But it is not the story that makes this film is the combination of some of the most beautiful, lyrical images I have ever seen on the screen, the folk music of the South of France, and the very sparse narration in the French language. So therefore, it is a film where nature in the raw unfolds before our eyes...without distractions of unnecessary conversation or sentimental music.

A few words about the fighting among the horses. Everyone knows this is common to determine status and rank in the herd. That is the animal world and, alas, in the human world also. What the film does is depict "White Mane" as he truly is, wild. untamed, and even a little brutal.

This is poetry in film, plain and simple. This is allegory. And it is even ballet as the music - when it is played - is coordinated so perfectly with the movement of the cowboys or the horse. If you are someone who finds joy in watching a jackrabbit scampering along the cracked earth with a wild stallion accompanying his rhythms, then this is the film for you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A companion to the same director's classic "The Red Balloon," this exquisite film probably wouldn't be made for children today ... and that's a pity. Children, simply by being younger, smaller, and weaker than the adult world around them, are already well aware of cruelty. They all understand what it is to be bullied, to be targeted for being different, to have to fight when they'd rather just be left alone. "White Mane" presents this fact of life not brutally, or mercilessly -- but honestly.

And it offers more, as well. The lyrical beauty of the film, the gorgeous black & white photography, the astonishingly expressive face of the boy Folco, all remind us that if there's unfairness in the world, there's also something sublime & deeply moving in it as well -- if only we look for it & see it. And it offers the consolation of art, and of storytelling itself.

I understand the misgivings of some regarding the film's ending. It's ambiguous at best, a harsh reminder that the sensitive of this world are often hounded by those who don't (or won't) understand them, and thus do their best to destroy them. But children can't be protected by denying that sad fact. If anything, a film like this probably enables them to deal with it better.

Adult viewers will savor the poetry, but also shake their heads in doleful recognition. It's a poignant gem of a film, most highly recommended!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Clarke on January 31, 2008
Format: DVD
I saw this movie very many years ago, and the magic remains. Albert Lamorisse crafted a simple tale, almost without words, of a fisher-boy in France's Camargue region, and his love for the wild white stallion whose independence and freedom is threatened by man. The black and white photography is luminous, dazzling with its intense beauty. And the film's ending will stay with you forever.
Criterion is releasing on two separate DVDs two short movies by Lamorisse shot around the same time -- this one, and the better-known 'Balloon Rouge' or 'Red Balloon', made a handful of years later. Such a shame these two films, which total just 90 minutes together, could not have been released together on just one disc. 'Crin Blanc' is the finer of the two. It is a film for all people, of all ages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jokie X Wilson on May 6, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Albeit this film may not be for more squeamish or very young children, it is something that most kids could relate to. Children like to see other kids being independent and doing things like tame horses and defy wayward adults. The depiction of animals is quite interesting and can provoke reactions of surprise as to the fluid and graceful moves of horses. The horse fighting might be too intense for some kids, but it is depicted as a natural behavior of horses and shows that there are pecking orders in all species. Kids who are having a difficult time in their own lives navigating the pecking order of school and other authority will relate especially well to this film. Sometimes just being understood can be a great morale boost to a troubled child.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Linsley on June 9, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
White Mane is the name of a wild horse living in a barren region of Southern France, the leader of a herd of horses. Some "gauchos" try to capture him and do, for a time, but he escapes. He is seen by a young boy who eventually befriends him and brings him to his home, which he shares with an old man and a baby sister. The family has other pets, such as turtles and a flamingo. Unfortunately, the gauchos haven't given up their quest to capture the beautiful horse. This somewhat sad tale is lightened considerably by its beautiful photography and by its straightforward tone. It is told in the manner of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, and would be suitable and recommended for children, with parental guidance, and adults.
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