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|Index||70 reviews in total|
This is a stark, dark, unconventional, and unsettling story film. But in the context of that chaos, what it means to be human is beautifully developed. The story revolves around a single French family thrown into the countryside in some post-apocalyptic period. The producer uses an almost documentary approach to the story. This reveals to us the rather drastic and desperate nature of their circumstances, but, unexpectedly, also reveals things like kindness to strangers, forbearance with other's weaknesses, fortitude, and reaching out. These positive human traits are contrasted with those of the stubborn uncaring adolescent boy who would rather hang off in the wood, and venture in only to steal what he wants... the lone Wolf. Its a very engaging and moving work. At one point, I found myself in tears at one particularly heart-rending scene. Humanity at a time of great stress is poignantly pictured, both in its strengths, and in its Sin. The acting is simply incredible, especially the mother and her younger daughter. Unlike the Hollywood films, this film offers no magic solutions, no instant fixes, no easy outs. Goverments have failed, and now common people are paying the price. Society has been reduced to the lowest common denominators. But the film seems to conclude with the idea that recovery is possible, through cooperation and sacrifice. There is some closure to the family's immediate straits. This film has the power to make us think about what we are doing to each other, and what might possibly happen if we let them go over the edge............
It is funny to me how a lot of people react to this movie. It seems they feel that this movie shows us decadent westerners what living in more impoverished and exploited parts of the globe is like. Well, it's a very fine film, but that certainly not what it's about. To reduce every artistic expression to world affairs is a rather shameless exposition of western self-guilt and political correctness. Now, there is enough to be ashamed about, but why should that always be connected to artistic expressions of western artists. Please stop politicizing everything. Le Temps du Loup is not about the third world, anyone who thinks that third world countries look any thing like what is happening in Haneke's film is out of his/her mind. News flash, people in the third world actually life daily, relatively stable lives, notwithstanding rampant poverty and high levels of violence and unsafety. What we see in Le Temps du Loup is what Hobbes means by "State of Nature", a lawless, non-dominated society. What Haneke shows in minute detail (and in that lies his greatest accomplishment) is that human connection, trust and intimacy is always in some senses based on dominating practices that stabilize the uncertainties and risks of interacting and competing with others in a shared social environment. The ambiguous status of the Koslowski character is a case in point, are his actions justifiable or is he just an exploitative oppressor? Same for the horse, but now in a more confronting way, because the line between fact and fiction is crossed. So Temps du Loup is an analysis of human co-habitation of any human society. Art is not political, what we do with it is.
If there's one subgenre that particularly appeals to me, it is the post-apocalyptic movie, or any movie dealing with the end of civilization. I don't know why the subject fascinates me so, but it does. Haneke's The Time of the Wolf is one of the best of its type ever made. Some sort of cataclysm has occurred all we really know is that most water supplies are tainted and we follow a mother and her two children (the father is with them when the film opens) as they vie for survival. Life now is all about the few material possessions you have preserved. You try to hold onto a semblance of your values, but they seem mostly vestigial. Isabelle Huppert returns as Haneke's star. She and her children are the point around which everything happens, but they are just three people amongst many. The young girl who plays her daughter, Anaïs Demoustier, gives a particularly amazing performance. We talked (ed: on the Classic Film forum of IMDb) last week (or perhaps the week before) about the directors influenced by Hitchcock and those influenced by Bresson, and Huppert in an interview explains how both directors have influenced Haneke. It's definitely true. Haneke uses suspense in a much different manner than Hitchcock, but the devices are surprisingly similar.
A French woman (Isabelle Huppert) and her two young children struggle
for survival shortly after an unidentified apocalypse. This is a very
different sort of post-apocalyptic film--it is very minimalist and
dramatic. The most fascinating aspect is that whatever happened to the
world is never explained or even discussed by the characters. The only
thing they know is that uncontaminated water is scarce and personal
belongings are very valuable. They are living in the present, fighting
for survival. The characters are often devoid of extreme emotion during
the crises they face in the film, so the viewer assumes that whatever
happened that changed the world must have been graphic and brutal.
Haneke is an exceptional filmmaker and has quite an eye. The combination of lingering camera-work and lack of score create an uneasy tension. Some might argue that the movie is boring because there isn't much action, but I thought it was visually stunning. The movie attempts to be about post-apocalypse social struggle and power--including conflict between different nationalities and genders--but it could have been more successful in doing this. The acting is outstanding (especially by Huppert and the actress that plays her daughter). Even though she gets co-billing, Beatrice Dalle is only in the film for a bit, but she does have a "Betty Blue"-style freak-out. I recommend this to anyone who likes post-apocalypse movies and is interested in seeing a hauntingly realistic one.
My Rating: 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In an undefined time, the environment has been totally destroyed and
now the water is contaminated and the animals have been burned. Georges
Laurent (Daniel Duval) travels with her wife Anne Laurent (Isabelle
Huppert), their teenage daughter Eva (Anaïs Demoustier) and their son
Ben (Lucas Biscombe) from the city to their cabin in the countryside.
On the arrival, they find that intruders have broken in the house, and
one stranger kills George.
Anne, Eva and Ben wander through the village asking for shelter and supplies for their acquaintances, but they refuse to help them. They reach an abandoned barn and spend the night inside. On the next morning, they meet a teenage boy and they walk together to a train station, where they find other survivors. Together, they wait for the train expecting to go to a better place in the middle of the chaos.
"Le temps du loup", a.k.a. "Time of the Wolf" is a pessimist and depressive view by Michael Haneke of a society without rules, basically the end of the civilization. The story begins with the uncomfortable violence of "Funny Games", with the stranger unexpectedly shooting Georges. The plot is totally different from the post-apocalyptic view of Hollywood movies and there are scenes hard to be seen. Isabelle Huppert and Anaïs Demoustier have extraordinary performances. Hope that the world never comes to this point, probably is what many viewers will think watching this movie. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
Just saw TIME OF THE WOLF in New York City, and it is a complete
pleasure. A very subtle film about individual and mass psychology after
an unnamed cataclysm.
Also a cautionary tale about having plenty of fresh batteries, lighters, and a good knife, or knives, on hand (you never know when you're going to have to skin your own dinner; hey, call me extreme when that unnamed cataclysm comes around).
An added bonus: no digital effects (although I think they got lucky with fog one day, and made a beautiful scene with it), no manic editing as a substitute for storytelling, no facile heroics, no predictable deus ex machina...it will cleanse the visual palette. It stars Isabelle Huppert, but she is so naturalistic you forget she's Isabelle Huppert.
For an altogether different, but equally pleasurable, although more theatrical, yet completely underrated take on the unnamed cataclysm bit, see
A BOY AND HIS DOG. A dream of a movie.
If, at the start of Time of the Wolf, you are aware of Michael Haneke's
1997 shocker, Funny Games, you may believe that this film will be
treading similar grounds. Opening the film, the 2 point 4 children
Laurent family arrive at their holiday shack in the wilderness of an
undisclosed location. On entering, they are confronted with a man
holding a shotgun towards them (his own family peering from behind
him). After demanding that they hand over any goods they have, he
shoots the father (Daniel Duval) dead. However, unlike the familial
hostages of Funny Games, the remaining Laurent's make their way to a
local for help, and the audience is startled by the matriarch, Anne's
(Isabelle Huppert), admission that they had buried the father. We are
certainly not in the regular world; this place is different, a point
that is further exacerbated when Anne is asked if she is aware of what
is going on.
Time of the Wolf is unfamiliar territory concerning its central concept of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Whilst the catalyst for this disaster (?) is never revealed, there is no indication of the generic science fiction tropes of disaster. No zombie/alien, or natural catastrophe's are highlighted. The ambiguity of the nature of the devastation creates a tension that is completely absent from the ordinary, explicit films of this nature. As the family trudge their way through the countryside, they cross the distinct furnaces of bonfires, sometimes the only light source in the darkness - at one time the legs of burning cow carcasses protrude from a fire. Their final stop, a building inhabited by "survivors" waiting for a train that may never arrive.
Perhaps Time of the Wolf states more about the consumer society we live in today. The shackles of consumption, and the artefacts of the modern world become useless in this context. Jewels and watches are pointless commodities, whilst lighters, water and clothing are worthy of exchange. Maybe the apocalypse is the result of dwindling resources, a reality that Earth will have to face in the future (perhaps the near), where agriculture, manufacture and natural fuel have all but disappeared. With this lack of resources, comes the desperation of the people, bringing out the worst in humanity. The strong male figures take control, whilst women are often reduced to trading in sex, and are largely marginalised in the fold. Our natural affinity as pack animals falls apart, and xenophobia erupts, targeting anything that might break the monotony and fraught situation.
With a distilled colour pallet, often only lit with fire, and the bleak wilderness of fog, Haneke creates a realistic world, heaving with pain and anxiety. His precise camera movements and compositions frame the disaster as beauty. Time of the Wolf would probably not suit the regular sci-fi frequenter of post-apocalypse, it does not present itself with the same signifiers and does not portray the Hollywood hero or saviour, and it absolutely does not offer the resolution that most would need to be satisfied with. This is the hopelessness of humanity in all of its desperation, with the modern luxuries obliterated, and reduced by the lack of necessities. But with this bleakness comes horror, and the complexities of humanity. It is a hard view, but one that rewards in aesthetics, and the confluence of characters.
Haneke's nightmare vision of a post-apocalyptic world is darkly
atmospheric and beautifully photographed. True, there isn't much of a
plot and the pace is slow. The film is primarily a mood piece, but a
very good one. Unlike the usual end-of-the-world thriller, the
characters aren't facing any ghoulish monsters other than each other.
This approach lends a striking realism to the movie.
Some of Haneke's films -- especially "Funny Games" -- are marred by heavy-handed social commentary. Happily, this is not a problem in "Time of the Wolf." One can always read politics into any allegory, but it is quite unnecessary in this film. I neither know nor care whether Haneke had a specific political situation in mind; what matters is that the resulting movie stands on its own as an artistic achievement.
8/10. Recommended for fans of grim, moody films.
"Temps Du Loup" is probably Michael Haneke's most successful attempt at
presenting his bleak outlook on mankind.
Vaguely set in a post-apocalyptic world, the film works both ways: a. at isolating various institutions and values (society, family, religion) outside of their normal environment, and therefore analyzing them more thoroughly; b. as an exercise in evoking beautiful imagery out of spartan and plain settings.
While the first is certainly no new ground for Haneke (the storyline is less complex than his previous effort, "La Pianiste", yet the scope is much grander), the second means that this is his most cinematic and elegant effort yet.
This is a powerful film which not only lingered in my thoughts for days,
which gave me, and those who saw it with me, vivid nightmares. Although
story of people trying to survive in the aftermath of a disaster is
new, Haneke's bleak vision of an imploding society packs not only a punch
but also a long, increasingly unbearable squeeze. The cinematography lends
stunning realism: night shots really look like night, the fog shots are
eerily beautiful - these all conspire brilliantly to drag you further into
the nightmare. Rhythmically, Haneke is masterful, and the acting -
especially by Isabelle Huppert - is excellent. From start to its
hair-raising, Tarkovsky-esque finish, Temps du Loup is something of a
miracle, capturing our disparate natures down to the core.
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