In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.
Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories.Written by
Fredrik Klasson <email@example.com>
"The Hour of the Wolf" is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.
Ingmar Bergman originally penned the script in 1964 under the title "The Cannibals". A serious bout of pneumonia led him to reconsider the project whilst lying in hospital; he deemed it to be potentially too expensive in concept and execution. Bergman revised the script idea into a more low budget piece to accompany Persona (1966). See more »
There exists an earlier version of the film with an additional, meta-cinematic framing device. In the prologue (lasting about 7 minutes), Bergman is seen on the set directing his actors. The epilogue (lasting about 1 minute) shows us the set being torn down and the crew leaving. These sequences are the only differences to the commonly seen version. Bergman has stated in an interview that he cut off these sequences himself before the general release of the film, as he came to the conclusion that they were just "self-deception". Despite this, a Swedish 35 mm print of the original, longer version does exist, although it's not available on home video in any format. See more »
"The hour when ghosts and demons are most powerful"
"Hour of the Wolf" (1968) is one of my favorite Bergman's films. I place it close to "Persona" to which it is a perfect matching piece. This impressive and disturbing movie about the loss of sanity by a tormented artist is another magnificent work of Ingmar Bergman, the closest to the horror genre he ever directed with his regular actors, Max von Sydow who is amazing as Johan and his Muse Liv Ullmann who is equally compelling as Alma, Jonah's wife. The film takes place on an isolated, windy island where Johan and pregnant Alma moved in hope for Johan to work on his paintings and where he is haunted by nightmares from the past that may or may not be just his dreams. They come to torture him during The Hour of the Wolf which Bergman describes as "the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are more real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful. The Hour of the Wolf is also the hour when most children are born."
Bergman has always been obsessed and fascinated by the inner demons that imagination can create and like no other filmmaker has explored the deepest mysteries of human soul and mind.
Surrealistic, Gothic and dark horror film, with its magnificent black and white cinematography provided by Bergman's long time friend and collaborator, Sven Nykvist, "The Hour of the Wolf" is a frightening view of the mind of a mad person.
It's been mentioned in more than one comment and I agree that David Lynch might have seen "Hour of the Wolf" more than once and was influenced by it when working on his own dark and surrealistic "Erazerhead".
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