Time of the Wolf
When Anna and her family arrive at their holiday home, they find it occupied by strangers. This confrontation is just the beginning of a painful learning process.
It's a tale of survival, brutality, humanity and ultimately hope, set against a harsh nature but hardly putting the blame on it. It's Michael Haneke's Time of the Wolf and it packs a stirring amount of grace and finesse. Set in a realistic and hauntingly familiar post-apocalyptic future - though this is never the focus - Haneke shows the struggle, harrowing hardships and human dignity through it that defines those faced with the worst of times when all is seemingly lost.
It is in many ways about faith in this journey. When religion becomes even with doubts, and seemingly crumbled, faith is the ultimate test the family traveling away from the bitter cold and into stable shelter must face. The…
Tenth watch of Dystopian December. Michael Haneke and the theme of dystopian futures seems a match made in heaven as the director normally manages to make his non-apocalyptic films pretty dystopian already. With the slowly paced Time of the Wolf this fantasy is turned into reality and the result is admirable on the one hand, but a bit of a disillusionment on the other. If you enter the film with no knowledge on the plot (forasmuch as one can speak of the existence of such a thing), you’d think of the first scene as one wherein a family is seen on the first day of their vacation out in the woods. That idea is immediately shattered and we are instead…
Time of the Wolf, or ''everyone yells and cries at each other for two hours'' is Haneke's attempt to make the most difficult film to watch ever created. You see one fateful night in 2002 Haneke was pondering just how to make his films more depressing and harrowing. Then it struck him, he didn't have to play chess on the board, he could move the pieces into the mud and play there.
One could call the film reserved, reserved in a way that it isn't as 'edgy' and 'grim' as others that feature masses of rape, torture, and cannibalism; this isn't that sort of film. At first it seems rather ''out there'' for Haneke. I thought maybe giant television sets…
“You mean you really don’t know what’s going on?”
The work of Michael Haneke is not to be taken lightly, and The Time of the Wolf is certainly not an exception to this unwritten rule. Coming back around to this a second time after exploring much of his oeuvre, has offered greater insight into his intent and how the film ties into his familiar themes on human nature and social behaviour. Here in this post-apocalyptic setting, we are offered a glimpse into the shifting dynamic of the family unit under duress and the rebuilding of social order (with glimpses of the social 'ism's' coming to the fore) when it has all but been removed due to an unexplained phenomenon. This…
Another review of this I read said (roughly) "about as much fun as you'd expect a Haneke post-apocalypse movie to be, i.e. no fucking fun at all" and I can't really put it better than that.
A few references to the Tzadikim Nistarim and the title's reference to Norse mythology both suggest that Haneke is somewhat interested in religion in this bitterly realistic apocalyptic tale. It pervades the film, between the refugee who cannot stop praying to the letter the daughter writers to her dead father.
The film feels almost like a dogme film in its presentation, but it's far too fantastical for that. There is a plot, but it's minimal (or perhaps it only feels minimal because no amount of closure or resolution could possibly work here). Instead of Godot, we wait on the trains. What comes isn't salvation, but simply enough to get by, at a bitter price.
A Haneke film about a post apocalyptic world, there's really not much more that needs to be said.
Michael Haneke has said in the past that for him filmmaking is a substitute for therapy, that crafting his work is a way to sort through his fears, unhappiness and neuroses and that has never been more clear to me.
I've now seen all of his films aside from the original Funny Games - though I'm lead to believe one version counts as having seen both - and his body of work truly is a great deal of pain made manifest.
Time of the Wolf stars his regular muse Isabelle Huppert (who he'll reteam with next in the ironically titled 'Happy End') in a supremely deceptive vision of societal breakdown.
The core themes of the film are all ones Haneke…
Apparently the end of the world is going to be really freakin' boring.
My first taste of Michael Haneke, one of those directors I've build up a pile of DVDs in my watch list on blind faith. Not a cheerful chap, is he? Time of the Wolf baits dystopia fanatics by pointedly refusing to explain what's happened to the world (indeed, it's entirely possible some of the characters don't really know or understand) and then focusing on brutal realism. This is a bleak film which has hope but on its own terms; there's no fairytale here and no real directio towards one either, just an entirely plausible take on how humanity would react in such circumstances.
It's a film fixated on being cold and bitter. And then comes the climax. On its own terms that scene is as humane and warm as anything I've ever seen, but as the butt-end of the rest of the film it's maybe the most beautiful ending I've ever seen in a movie. As the family wrestles through their own phenomenology the viewer is here smacked upside his/her side with that climactic experience.
Another edgy, hateful, misanthropic, bitter, loathsome, wretched, dull, awkward, and forced entry in the Haneke canon.
kind of reminds me of Children of Men but without the charm that CoM had; probably because it didn't just feel like people shouting and crying at each other for two hours
In yet another critique on society, Haneke shows us the highs and - more convincingly - the lows of human nature in a post-apocalyptic setting.
The beginning is superb: a Parisian family arrive at what seems to be their country holiday home; their car is packed full and we can presume this is the beginning of a long summer holiday; we can recognize Isabelle Huppert as the mother and identify this as the central family of the film; inside there is another family, they have taken possession of the house, their father holds a shot gun; in reverse cuts the two families face each other, the man with the gun warning them to go (compared to the Parisian family the interlopers look poor, scruffy, talk with a foreign accent), Huppert’s husband is at first belligerent, saying this is private property, then he becomes calmer, conciliatory;…
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