(aka 'Time of the Wolf" or "Wolfzeit")
directed by Michael Haneke
France / Austria / Germany 2003
Set in the indeterminate milieu of an idyllically pastoral, rural province, a family from "the city" arrives at their summer home for a seeming holiday getaway to find a hostile, armed squatter and his family in the premises. Following an unprovoked act of senseless violence, Anna (Isabelle Huppert) and her children, Eva (Ana´s Demoustier) and Ben (Lucas Biscombe) are robbed of home, transportation (except for a bicycle), and provisions and cast out to roam the countryside in search of assistance. Eventually making their way into a loose, cooperative alliance of displaced, multicultural families living under the protection of a pragmatic, armed leader named Koslowski (Olivier Gourmet) at a disused way station, the family soon find themselves struggling with day to day survival, desperately pinning their ever-dimming hopes on a nebulous plan to compel a freight train to make an unscheduled stop for boarding so that they may be transported away from their oppressively inhuman nightmare. Recalling the distilled austerity, psychological desolation, and unconscionable violence of the filmmaker's early Austrian films, Benny's Video (which, uncoincidentally, is the enigmatic son's name) and The Seventh Continent (although lacking the essential concentration of these films), Michael Haneke's allegorical, post-apocalyptic anthropological dissection of catastrophe, alienation, dehumanization, and primalism is compelling, profoundly unnerving, and unrelentingly provocative. The film's recurring elemental motif of fire - like the tribe's literal and figurative existential way station - serves as an ambivalent symbol of destruction, instinctual self-survival, and ultimately, a tenuous glimmer of hope and humanity.
Theatrical Release: May 20th, 2003 - Cannes Film Festival
DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Artificial Eye Film Company - Region 2- PAL|
Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
|Audio||French (Dolby Digital 5.1) , French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)|
Original aspect ratio 2.35:1, anamorphic, with optional, white, English subs. Brilliant stuff! - The film is very dark, in both respects: it is thematically apocalyptic and shot much of the time at night. Haneke makes full use of the contrast between long nighttime scenes and glaring sunlight. For whole stretches it feels as if you're actually outside at night, your eyes struggling to accustom themselves to the darkness - following distant lights or pale patches of light in the foreground. I haven't seen a film that does this for a long time, and the DVD does as best as it can in the circumstances. I couldn't see any compression problems, because I couldn't really see *anything* for whole swathes of it.
Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)
The Films in My Life
French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
|Agnes Varda by Alison Smith||Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard||Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson||
Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No.
by James Quandt
|The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau||
French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
|Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana|
The below capture is representative of much of the DVD which is extremely dark in contrast (and tone!).