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Film / White Mane

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White Mane (Crin-Blanc) is a 1953 featurette from France (47 minutes) directed by Albert Lamorisse.

Folco is a boy of about 12 who lives with his little sister and grandpa in a simple house in Camargue on the south coast of France. Camargue is in the delta of the Rhone River and consequently is a region of beach and sands and marsh and wetlands. Folco and his grandpa make a simple subsistence living catching fish and shellfish in the river delta.

Camargue is a mostly wild area, and is home to a large population of wild horses. One particular band of horses is led by a handsome white stallion called White Mane. White Mane, a proud and strong horse, disdains humans and ferociously resists being captured. The local horse ranchers for their part desperately desire to capture him, in part because he's such a good-looking horse and in part just to prove a point. Folco also is entranced by the beautiful horse. While White Mane disdains the company of humans in general, he and Folco become friends.

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Compare The Red Balloon, another A Boy and His X featurette by Albert Lamorisse that is light on dialogue.


Tropes:

  • Barefoot Poverty: Folco and his family live a simple hand-to-mouth existence fishing in the wetlands. Folco is given to wandering around the marshes with no shoes.
  • A Boy and His X: A young boy forms a bond of friendship with a wild stallion who otherwise refuses to submit to the control of humans.
  • Dream Sequence: Folco has a dream in which he and White Mane walk together along the beach.
  • Narrator: A narrator helps move the plot along, among other things describing the feelings and thoughts of White Mane. Different narrative tracks were recorded for different languages.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with Folco and White Mane borne by the current to the horizon, never to be seen again.
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  • Raised by Grandparents: Folco and his little sister live with a man who is clearly way too old to be their father. No explanation for the absence of the parents is given.
  • The Rival: White Mane has a rival stallion who asserts leadership of the band in his absence. They have a long fight scene.
  • Silence Is Golden: There's some dialogue, but it's pretty minimal. Most of the film passes by with no dialogue except for the narration, which provides exposition.
  • Suicide by Sea: The horse wranglers corner Folco and White Mane by the banks of the Rhone. They are shocked when Folco and the horse plunge into the river. The wranglers plead for them to come back, even promising that Folco can keep the horse, but the stallion and the boy are whisked out to sea never to be seen again. The film closes with an allegorical ending in which the narrator describes White Main taking Folco to a beautiful island where men and horses live together in friendship.
  • Re-Cut: Different versions of this film run 31, 40, and 47 minutes.
  • White Stallion: White Mane is a strong, beautiful white stallion that Folco loves and the local horse ranchers long to possess.

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