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.
Part 24 of the 30 Countries 2014 project.
For the purposes of this project this movie is classed as at least partially being of Austrian origin as per its listing on imdb.
I haven't always got along with the work of Michael Haneke but there have definitely been some films in his body of work that have left me floored. The thought of a post-apocalyptic Haneke intrigued me no end but sadly I just couldn't get past how annoying every single character was at all stops of the way, finding myself staring at the wall rather than paying attention as a way of coping with the rage Huppert especially encouraged to grow within me.
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;…
That's what people like to label as slice of life, some story without beginning nor end, that takes you for a brief moment on some journey somewhere.
Except this film does not take you anywhere either, as there is nothing between the absence of beginning and the absence of end.
And therefore this review is going to end here as there is nothing to talk about.
Wait, someone is telling me, some people are bad. 1 star for people being bad, m'kay.
It's nice that we know
Haenke's version of Waiting for Godot.
Haneke makes the apocalypse feel painfully realistic and eerily close in this one. But however gripping and convincing this nightmare plays out, I found the film not as mesmerizing as some of his other works.
Very Minor Haneke. Of all the films of his I've seen this seems like the one with the least amount of effort put into it. The tropes are all here. It's got unflinching depictions of suffering and tragedy, A barely coded racial/social allegory, a central couple named Georges and Anne, long static takes, meta-critique of genre conventions. What's missing is some kind of grand central concern to bring it all together. The genre elements are really not subverted in anyway just severely underplayed. There really isn't much besides the hardcore formalism separating this from any especially bleak post-apocalypse movie. (e.g. The Road) What this really feels like is a transitional work. After perfectly encapsulating his work up until that point thematically and formally with Code Unknown I don't think Haneke knew where to go next. Plus considering this is the picture that allowed him to make Caché I'd say he was allowed to make mediocre retread.
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