Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Time of the Wolf|
Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Anaïs Demoustier, Béatrice Dalle, Patrice Chéreau, Hakim Taleb
Director: Michael Haneke
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
TIME OF THE WOLF reunites award-winning French actress Isabelle Huppert with director Michael Haneke after the international success of their celebrated film, The Piano Teacher. In addition, TIME OF THE WOLF features an A... more »
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A Brilliant, Dark, and Poignant End of the World Tale...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Time of the Wolf (Le Temps du Loup) begins with an opening similar to Funny Games, also by Michael Haneke, where a family arrives to their vacation home where they are brutalized. The story is focused on the distressed Anna (Isabelle Huppert) and her two children, Ben and Eva, in a fallen civilization where they have to survive. However, the naive mother Anna slowly comes to the realization that there is no one willing to help them with their basic needs: water, food, and shelter. Disheartened the family continues to drift as they eventually find shelter in a small barn, but when Ben disappears they accidentally burn it down and they are once again without shelter. These catastrophic events continue with further predicaments as there seems to be no end to the family's suffering. The dark atmosphere grows gloomier as people exhibit xenophobia and extreme cynicism that colors radical religious beliefs in a tribal environment. This tribal environment becomes a foundation where women's rights regress to having minimal meaning such as when they must trade their body for what they need in order to survive. All these miserable events sum up the ending where the disturbing finale functions like a Phoenix raising from ashes.
Time of the Wolf is based on an ancient German poem about the time before the end of the world. This is not an exclusively German myth as folklore from the Vikings and Celts also associated the wolf with destruction and doom. In Time of the Wolf the director Haneke brings his vision of a present day apocalypse where the dark despair is brought to the audience in several ways. The opening credits begin with this darkness displayed on a black background without sound or music. The silence is overwhelming as the entire film has no score or background music that would bring some sort of emotion to the audience. The only time the audience can hear music is when Eva hears and listens to a small tape recorder, but even then it is hushed. The ancient myths of the day of reckoning convey a message of devastating darkness as the sun will end it's shining. Overall, Time of the Wolf is a remarkable cinematic experience as the audience cannot escape Haneke's dark vision where themes such as solidarity, hope, friendship, and much more is questioned. After Time of the Wolf the distributors need to release Benny's Video and The Seventh Continent, which are excellent films as well.
Dark, Disturbing, With Moments of Great Grace and Power
Mir | North Miami Beach, FL USA | 05/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yesterday, I caught a film from 2002, French with subtitles, called Le Temps Du Loup: THE TIME OF THE WOLF.
It's a difficult film to watch, but I found myself utterly engrossed. There is no way I could turn off this film after the harrowing opening scene grabbed me completely:
A family of four, the Laurents, drive to their country home--mom, dad, son, daughter. Upon entering their cottage, they find that another family is squatting there: a man, his wife, and a boy. They are grim-faced and the man raises his rifle to the Laurents. As Mr. Laurent tries to be reasonable, speaking calmly, offering to share his food and water with the family, to work something out, the squatter shoots Laurent. We see blood splatter on the wife's face, played by Isabel Huppert.
The squatters take the supplies and cast the woman and children off with only a can of juice, some biscuits, what they are wearing and carrying in the mother's purse, and a bicycle.
Then we see the stricken woman-who is clearly in shock--visit the magistrate. He refuses to help--Don't you know what's happened? he says--and tells her to go away. Closes his door on the bereaved threesome. They knock on neighbor's doors in the village. None will open to her.
We know something is very, very wrong. She knows their names. They've been her neighbors for years. But none will let them in out of the cold night.
Yes, something is wrong, very wrong.
This is a film in the tradition of the post-apocalyptic story. Some sort of plague has hit this country (seems like France, but one could assume the wider world is stricken, at minimum Europe). Water is scarce. Food supplies are not moving as they used to. Animals are affected and being burned. Hunger is rampant. Trains don't stop for passengers.
And now this family must find a way to survive without supplies, in the cold, without their Pater Familias, and with a terrible grief to bear.
It's enough to break your heart, this chilling opening.
The story follows them as they meet up with a filthy, feral youth--a boy who is a loner, who steals to survive, who will not join up with a group, but lives in the woods in solitary suspiciousness and pessimissm. The misanthropic survivalist. Then they meet up with a quarrelsome group at a train station. They hope a train will come. (At this point, it starts to feel as if WAITING FOR GODOT has become a horrifying sci-fi story, because we can only wonder if a train ever WILL come, and if they wait in vain.)
Terrible things are done. Amazingly kind things are done. Hope is minimal, but not completely lost. Some people try to keep things civilized, to be fair. More terrible losses are in store.
I watched, mesmerized, horrified. I wondered: What would I do with MY back against the wall? Would I be like the kinder folks, and would I comfort and share? Or would I be one of the "me and mine" folks, and cast out the wanderer for pragmatic and selfish reasons? Would I withhold water from a thirsting woman or child today, just to be able to give it to my own tomorrow? Would I succumb to survival of the fittest or the cruelest or the one with the biggest rifle?
I hope not. I hope that grace will abound. That this film made me stop and consider my own soul, well, that tells me it's powerful and worthy.
But I do NOT know the anwer. I do not comfort myself with thinking I will be among the great and giving righteous on that day. I can only pray I will.
Part of the ongoing imagery in story and action and dialogue in the film harkens to the idea of the 35 Righteous of Jewish legend. Those 36 people who, by virtue of being on the planet and being of such goodness, that they keep the world from being destroyed. (Think of the story of Abraham's pleading for Sodom, how God could not really destroy a city with even TEN righteous souls in it, would he?)
And as if to prove that there is something to this, we see a woman bring a bit of warm goat milk to a very old man, who in turn takes not one sip, but gives it ALL to his frail wife, who drinks it up in silence, him holding the bowl to her lips.
And we see a woman offer to give up her bicycle, another to give up his watch, to get water for a woman with nothing left to trade except sex.
And we see an addled, shocked, silent boy ready to make the ultimate, horrific sacrifice if it will save the world.
Even in the midst of the selfish and murderous and quarrelsome, a few lights shine.
The movie is named after an era spoken of in Norse legend, the wolf-age, the time of the wolf. The age that precedes the end of the world. These lines are from the Norse poem VOLUPSA:
Brother will fight brother and be his slayer,
brother and sister will violate the bonds of kinship;
hard it is in the world, there is much adultery,
axe-age, sword-age, shields are cleft asunder,
wind-age, wolf-age, before the world plunges headlong;
no man will spare another.
These words are compatible with what we read in the eschatalogical writings of Judaism and Christianity. (Perhaps Islam, too, but I am not as familiar with those texts.)
I was very moved by this dark and depressing film, and grateful that the director gave us some light in the darkness, the light that came through acts of generosity and selflessness, no matter how scarce when catastrophe and chaos comes.
If you can bear it, I recommend LE TEMPS DU LOUP/THE TIME OF THE WOLF. It's not easy to watch, but I think there are lessons there worth viewing, and some very good scenes. And Isabel Huppert is, to me, always a delight to watch.
Raw emotions on an important topic
Joanne A. Garland | Midwest, USA | 02/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Time of the Wolf reunites director Michael Haneke and actress Isabelle Huppert in this movie about what a family must cope with in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event. It begins when a family comes home to find another family has invaded their house. The man of the house is shot to death, and the mother (Isabelle Huppert) and her two children, Eva and Ben are forced to leave. The family must cope alone, homeless, as they have no one who can help them. They end up living with other stranded people in what looks like an old factory building. Tempers flare and personalities collide. There is a touching scene in which Eva, the daughter, writes a letter addressed to her dead father. Things get heated and emotional when Eva and her mother are confronted with the man who killed their father/husband. He denies it, so it's a matter of their word against his. All in all, this isn't the easiest movie in the world to watch. There is a gory scene involving a horse, and the near suicide of the mother's son, Ben. But this movie deals with an important topic: how people might cope when confronted with an apocalyptic event. This obviously isn't a glamour role for Isabelle, but the part of Anne seems to suit her very well. In every movie she gives her best, and that is very very good. The DVD features include an interview with her and the director Michael Haneke."
Uninvolving end of the world flick
Westley | Stuck in my head | 02/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Isabelle Huppert is a French mother whose family has fled the city following an unnamed apocalypse. The family arrives at their country home and discovers that another family has commandeered it. They seek shelter and eventually came across a teen boy who leads them to a train station. They join a group of others waiting for the next train, which they hope will take them to safety or provide them with supplies. As they wait, they grow more hopeless.
"Time of the Wolf" is a bleak movie, made in a minimalist style by French director Michael Haneke (Cache, Funny Games). The family's experiences are horrendous. Unfortunately, the main characters are so mute and distant that it greatly diminishes the impact of their suffering. The only affecting part to me was the budding relationship between the daughter and the wild teen boy. The boy is pessimistic and stubborn, and the daughter struggles to understand him. However, this subplot isn't enough to sustain the movie. The ambiguous ending is typical of Haneke and is likely to delight fans of his work and frustrate others. The movie was too boring and aloof for me to care much at that point.