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Time of the Wolf plug


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#1 M. Leary

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:59 AM

I didn't see this on the first 32, and I am assuming that is just because some of us haven't seen it yet. But this really is a significant film, rivalling Code Unknown in sheer volume of scathing erudition and would like to request that people vote for it even if they haven't seen it yet.

#2 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 09:07 AM

"and would like to request that people vote for it even if they haven't seen it yet."

heh, THAT'S what I call a plug. I'm not sure that in final voting, we will be able to do that. but I will look it up and see if I can find it.

#3 Persona

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:01 PM

The film is playing at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago on Saturday the 24th. Get to it if you can. I double, no i triple Leary's request for a vote here even if you haven't seen it.

Ron, please record a vote for Time of the Wolf even though i already voted. I have plenty of votes left.

OH, and how did All or Nothing not make the list?

-s.

#4 Ron Reed

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:21 PM

QUOTE
Ron, please record a vote for Time of the Wolf even though i already voted.  I have plenty of votes left.


smile.gif

All in due time, lad. All in due time.

Bear in mind that your first round list was used to give a sort of "Honorary Placement" to an initial batch of films, and to eliminate a bunch of others. Starting this weekend we do a fresh round of voting, open to everybody who's a registered user of this discussion board: anybody who can make a post is a registered user, and is invited to vote on the next 40 or 50 films to be added to the list. Make sure you have a look at the Selection Process thread to get a clear idea of how that voting will be carried out.

*

Getting back to the WOLF... It's definitely possible to vote for a film one hasn't seen. But you guys will have to give us a bit more about this one to convince us, I'd say, because it's so little known. I'll likely vote for AU HASARD BALTHAZAR and ORDET simply because they so clearly belong on the list: even though I've not seen either in their entirety, I know their reputation among Christian film buffs, have read lots about them, it seems obvious they should be listed and I don't want my lack of having seen them to stand in their way. But all I know about TIME OF THE WOLF so far is that Chicagoans (and Jeff) are in love with it.

Want to make your case?

#5 Overstreet

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:32 PM

QUOTE
But all I know about TIME OF THE WOLF so far is that Chicagoans (and Jeff) are in love with it.


In love with it, yes... but haven't seen it. :?

#6 Ron Reed

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:35 PM

QUOTE
QUOTE
But all I know about TIME OF THE WOLF so far is that Chicagoans (and Jeff) are in love with it.


In love with it, yes... but haven't seen it. :?

Just Chicagoans, then.

Mike, stef: I think you better make sure your very busy friend JBob joins you in voting for this one...

#7 Persona

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Posted 16 April 2004 - 09:49 AM

Time of the Wolf, directed by Michael Haneke, is breathtaking for other reasons. His take-no-prisoners approach makes for difficult but extremely rewarding viewing. Isabelle Huppert stars as a mother of two trying to survive after an unnamed catastrophe has occurred. This apocalyptic tale is challenging in many ways (animals are killed on screen, for instance), but Haneke's spectacular nighttime cinematography, rigorous narrative, and almost spiritual conclusions are profound and well worth your time.



The Chicago Film Festival reminded us of the power of world cinema, with Time of the Wolf the second film on my list (Good Bye, Dragon Inn also appeared at the fest). Directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, Time of the Wolf is a rigorous, difficult and mind-blowing film. Taking place after some apocalyptic event, the story features a band of characters struggling to survive. The film features a take-no-prisoners approach, but no film of 2003 so powerfully detailed the basic nature of the human condition.



Time of the Wolf (Michael Haneke). Haneke is on a roll. He seems to have the filmic version of the Midas Touch, not in terms of monetary returns, but rather in terms of aesthetic greatness – everything he touches “turns to gold.” The formidable prospect of following up his earlier Code Unknown and The Piano Teacher must have been intimidating, but dare I say it – Time of the Wolf is his greatest production to date. Like In This World, the finale is the equivalent of cinematic perfection. But unlike Haneke’s previous efforts, it is full of a hope that no other film of his has hinted at. There are riveting, visceral sequences here, fire being the main bonding element for the length of the story. In one sense it speaks to a burning away of the things that we possess; in another it shows that without certain possessions and regulations in place, society begins to crumble. The human heart in Time of the Wolf is both selfish, tyrannical, and pulsating with need. There is a need to relate, a need to reach out, and a need to be saved. I’m hopeful for this to hit selected theaters in 2004, and I will gladly see it again (several times). If it comes near you, do not miss it on the big screen. It is Haneke at the top of his game.



Time of the Wolf
(screened at the Chicago International Film Festival – 2003)
by M. Leary, film and religion editor, The Matthew's House Project


Time of the Wolf was written before Haneke began the massive undertaking that resulted in Code Unknown. Immediately on the heels of the mercilessly self-referential Funny Games (in which at one point the lead criminal looks into the camera and asks: “What would you bet that this family is dead by nine o'clock tomorrow?”), Time of the Wolf was shelved due to lack of funding. Now having directed two “French” films of a much different experiential quality than his glacial trilogy or its follow-up Funny Games, Time of the Wolf has run the festival circuit to a great deal of applause.

In The Piano Teacher, Haneke dragged us through the morbidly complex psychology of Isabella Huppert’s character, introducing a larger audience to his conception of film as

…polemical statements against the American 'barrel down' cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus.

In Code Unknown this sense of provocation came to the foreground through a series of brilliantly fragmented politicized vignettes, probing the visual language of human relationships with deliberately de-mystified camerawork.

Now it seems that in this year’s release of Time of the Wolf we have the raw edginess of the Glacial Trilogy working through the complex social imagery of his French films. The film claims its title (Wolfszeit) from an old German poem that invokes an apocalypse, a poetic rendering of the world in stages of social breakdown. As the story goes, Anna is leading her teenaged daughter Lise and shell-shocked son Ben through the French countryside in search of food and shelter. Some unidentified social catastrophe has thrust the world into an unstructured and informationless confusion, a world in which the materials necessary for survival are the basic form of exchange. Making their way from shelter to shelter with no food or water they come upon a small gathering of vagrants in an abandon railway station. With the rest of this ungainly group of survivors Anna decides to wait for a train to happen by and return civilization to them.

Haneke’s sparse tale provides space for this new micro society to work itself out of the culture they are used to and into a social system designed specifically for survival. Anna’s little family immediately encounters in the station the way men naturally arrange themselves in the absence of established codes and obligations. Women are reduced to leverage in bartering and men reduced to their status on the scale of the will to power. As a larger band of dislocated vagabonds descend on the station, a weird sort of Tribalism emerges. It is one that hasn’t completely yet stepped beyond the racial tension of contemporary Europe, which, other than a few packs of cigarettes, retains the only shred of cultural identity in the film.

Haneke’s lo-fi directorial approach is an unmovable force, the difficult visions of his films being inflexible trajectories that his actors are forced to conform to. Time of the Wolf breaks down Huppert just as visibly as she was in The Piano Teacher. At times she is little more than the emotional guide to the cacophony of imagery Haneke brings together in the construction of this unsettling future. Fortunately, where Huppert’s character descends at times into helplessness, her daughter Lise provides us with a glimpse of this new world one step removed from it, for she isn’t fully capable yet of understanding the implications of what has happened.

Haneke continually plays with the depth of field, alternating between and isolating his characters. He lets sound dribble from frame to frame, at times moving from silence to intolerable din back to silence over the course of a few instants. In one gripping sequence Lise and Thomas wait in a woodshed for their mother to return from a hunt through the village for food and water. Insulated by the silence of the town, the sound of an escaped parakeet in the shed becomes deafening. Layered over this is the clamoring and rustling of Lise as she tries to catch it and the flitting images of the whole occasion flicker past one another until finally the bird is caught and Thomas zips it up into his jacket, letting us imagine the sound of his heartbeat in the silence that has returned. In a counterpart to this scene, Anna stumbles through pitch-black darkness for several moments as we see nothing but her voice and the sort of dancing prismatic blackness that is unique to film. These scenes are just a few points of poetry in the film that is filled with as much rhythm as it is narrative violence.

Time of the Wolf is a concentrated, emotionally detailed visualization of a deceptively simple tale. It has all the intentioned thoughtfulness of Code Unknown, and the inexplicable angst of The Piano Teacher. But where neither exhibited resolution, Time of the Wolf closes itself off by opening up for us the world we have just seen constructed in the film. His conclusion empowers us not just with a sense of an unexpected glimpse of hope, but with Haneke’s characteristic ability to instill a social gravity to film that is lost on other directors.



'Nuff Said.

-s.

#8 M. Leary

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Posted 16 April 2004 - 10:00 AM

That quote towards the beginning is Haneke talking about himself, it is the only quote I have ever seen from him actually talking about himself and his films.

As good as these reviews are, there is still way too much to say about the film. It really is one of the best examples I can think of that deals with what we usually call around here the "spiritual" nature of films that aren't done by intentionally "spiritual" people.