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A pastor studying folklore in remote parts of 19th century Estonia is invited to stay with a young nobleman. His mother is sequestered and mad. It seems she has been attacked by a bear as a young wife and local peasants whisper the young man may be the son of a bear. A doctor, who treats the mother with old-fashioned remedies, reveals this to the pastor. Young nobleman's wife is found with a bite and the man has disappeared into the woods. Written by
Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>
Lokis ("The Bear") does a good job at setting up a foreign world. Set in the 19th century, a German minister travels to rural Poland to study the local folklore and to view a rare book in the collection of a count. This count is a strange man with an insane mother who was attacked by a bear as a newlywed and believes that her son is the progeny of that bear. Attending the sick woman is a city doctor who can barely hide his contempt for the country and his employers. Into this world comes the minister. The viewer immediately identifies with him because we, like the protagonist, are outsiders in a strange world. Like him, we wonder at the odd sights and beliefs (at a wedding, the bride is slapped during the service). The film is aided by the visual look which expresses a time gone by.
The problem is that the film does not go anywhere. There is a moody ambiance. An occasional odd moment suggests something fearful is coming, yet, nothing scary ever happens. Somehow the horror has been left out of the horror movie.
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