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‘Chien Blanc’ Summary And Ending, Explained: A Mission To Reform The Racist White Dog

“Chien Blanc” or “White Dog” is set around 1968 in the United States, a time period when Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the country was on the verge of implosion. White dogs were police dogs trained to chase away black protesters. The irony of “Chien Blanc” is that a black dog has been trained to become a white dog. The film is directed by Anas Barbeau-Lavalette and is unique.

Spoilers Ahead

An Abandoned Dog At Your Doorstep Or A Trained Racist Police Dog?

Romain Gary lives in Los Angeles with his wife, a popular actress and civil rights activist named Jean Seberg, and his kid. One rainy day, he finds an abandoned dog at his doorstep. Looking at the dog, he decides to take him in for shelter. The couple becomes fond of the dog and decides to adopt him, and he becomes part of their family. In a parallel situation, “Chien Blanc” focuses on the political dynamics in the United States after Martin Luther King was kidnapped, signaling a dark turn for the black community. The police brutally attacked the black protesters, creating a racial bloodbath all around the country.

Romain’s wife goes out of her way to support the black community and is fully supported by her husband. The couple is trying to bring about change without realizing that they have been sheltering a white dog under their roof until one day, they decide to bring in a young black man, Ballard, and the dog brutally attacks him.

After the incident, Jean asks Gary to take the dog to an animal shelter. Gary soon realizes that his pet is actually a white dog trained to attack black people. Jean asks Gary to kill the dog and pull him out of his misery, but Gary, on the other hand, decides to take this as a mission to reform the white dog, probably to feel that he has accomplished some sort of achievement in ending racism.

The young black man, Ballard, whom Gary decides to take in, is also fighting a personal battle with his community and family as he is stuck between his family and his pregnant white girlfriend.

A Mission To Reform The Racist Dog

At the animal shelter, the owner refuses to keep the dog and suggests Gary put it down, but he cannot bring himself to kill it. He is relieved when one of the black trainers, Keys, hesitantly decides to heal the dog and train him. Gary leaves the dog at the animal shelter but cannot stop thinking about it. Keys, on the other hand, begins training the white dog but feels interrupted as Gary often visits the dog. One day, while trying to feed the black dog, Key decides to enter the cage and close the distance between him and the dog but ends up getting brutally attacked. He somehow manages to save himself but leaves his job. The animal owner is mad about the incident and calls Gary to take away the dog, as he has lost one of his best trainers. Gary decides to visit Keys and his family and apologize for the incident. He is also not ready to lose the dog and believes only Keys can reform him. When Gary visits Keys’s neighborhood, we see the living conditions of the black community, and we can sense the tension in the air about a white man’s presence in the neighborhood.

On the other hand, Gary’s wife, Jean, is battling her own struggles to support the Black lives matter movement. She tries to use her popularity to bring media attention to the movement but fails to do so. In one particular scene, she is present at the funeral of a black martyr but is asked to leave by a black woman, who asks her to let them fight their own battles. A broken Jean then leaves the funeral ceremony with Gary.

Accomplishing The Mission

After recovering, Keys continues to train the dog and slowly establishes a relationship with him. Keys and Gary have finally accomplished the mission to reform the dog, also creating a mirror of change for the world to reflect upon. In a contrasting scene, we witness the dog trying to attack Gary when he tries to meet him, Keys holding him back, and the dog being friendly with Keys and becoming a part of his family. On the other hand, Bellard’s family finally accepts his relationship and his child, meaning a happy ending for him but also an act of change reflecting the healing process between the black and white communities.

“Chien Blanc” draws a fair contrast between the struggles of the black community while reflecting on the lives of white people as well who wants to support their fight, all through the lens of a racist dog.


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