White Mane Movie Poster Image

White Mane

(i)

 

A timeless boy and horse film with some tense chase scenes.
  • Review Date: October 26, 2011
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1954
  • Running Time: 40 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The movie is set in France and there is a little bit of French dialogue that is translated by the narrator.

Positive messages

The horse responds to the kind overtures of the boy over the cruel attempts to tame him from the ranchers. There is a reverence for innocence, youth, nature in the film.

Positive role models

Folco shows endless patience and boundless love as he attempts to tame and train the wild horse. The ranchers are interested in owning and containing the animal and have an angry arrogance to them.

Violence & scariness

The horse breaks through gates as the ranchers try to lasso him into submission. Folco the boy is thrown off the horse as he tries to tame him but gets up unharmed. Later, a marsh is set on fire by the ranchers in an attempt to force the horse out of its hiding place. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic short film is black and white, largely wordless, and though the limited dialogue is in French, the narration is in English. The film is filled with scenes of cowboys trying to tame a wild horse by chasing, lassoing, and corralling the beast. The cowboys set fire to a field to smoke out the horse, and a chase scene at the climax is fairly intense and ends ambiguously.

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What's the story?

In the rural landscape of the Camargue region of the South of France, a pack of wild horses is led by a proud and stubborn white stallion who resists all attempts of being tamed by the local cowboys. Folco, a fisherman's son from the nearby village, grows fascinated by this horse and has dreams of riding him along the beach. Patiently and methodically, Folco earns the trust of WHITE MANE, and a deep bond develops, much to the chagrin of the cowboys.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Filmed in stark black and white (and who knew the South of France could look so much like Arizona?), White Mane -- directed by The Red Balloon's Albert Lamorisse -- won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and with good reason. This deceptively simple story of a boy and his horse, told through sparse narration and dialogue, is a transcendent and powerful experience that should resonate with both kids and adults. For kids in particular, there is a touching appeal to the boy Folco's love and caring for the stubborn white horse who grows to trust him.  

It's a thoroughly engaging folktale of sorts, and while it has intense action and not the happiest of endings, it's a timeless story of the relationships between animals and people, and the deep bonds that can form between the pure hearted. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the messages in this movie. What do you think the filmmaker was trying to say about the relationship between wild animals and people? Why did the horse respond differently to Folco as compared to the cowboys?

  • This film was set in the south of France, and yet in many ways it seems like a Western. What similarities and differences do you see in this movie compared to other movies with cowboys and horses?

  • Did the fact that the movie is in black and white affect your viewing experience? Did you miss color?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 13, 1954
DVD release date:April 29, 2008
Cast:Alain Emery, Laurent Roche, Peter Strauss
Director:Albert Lamorisse
Studio:Criterion Collection
Genre:Classic
Topics:Horses and farm animals
Run time:40 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of White Mane was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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