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More on Time of the Wolf

Here is my favorite shot from Time of the Wolf:

It’s Isabelle Huppert looking for her son, who has disappeared in the middle of the countryside in the middle of a foggy night in the middle of some unnamed apocalyptic disaster.

Who the fuck has the balls to film total darkness for 10 minutes? Michael Haneke, that’s who. In any other film you’d see at least some kind of barely-lit form, some fake moonlight, something to give the viewer something to look at even though the characters can’t see. But not here. You are as scared and uncomfortable as the characters, plunged into the same darkness. This film continually subverts all viewer expectations of traditional film. Plot, character, image…everything is non-traditional and de-centralized and disturbed in this film. Major moments happen quickly and are not reflected on. Minor moments drag out endlessly. Cliches are set up and then destroyed. Some say this is a Dogma film, and while I don’t think it conforms completely to the manifesto, it probably comes pretty close.

I haven’t linked to any reviews or IMDB profiles of this film, and I’m not going to, because they all use an image that I think you shouldn’t see unless you see the whole film. It’s one of the very few super-dramatic images in the film, and to take it out of context and use it as a teaser is just wrong in a film that so diligently subverts that kind of drama. Of course, now that I’ve said this, you’ll go looking for it. Just know that I disapprove!

Plus, the IMDB profile for the film has the wrong director, the wrong year, and the wrong plot description. It does have an image from the right film, though. Even though it’s wrong.

POSTSCRIPT: Perhaps I should add that Kiarostami on occasion does this kind of thing with darkness, though not in exactly the same way or to this extent. And perhaps I should add that there were a few things in this film that were reminiscent of Kiarostami. And Tarkovsky. And perhaps Von Trier. And perhaps Akerman. But it’s useless to throw out these names; I suppose much of art cinema is slow and full of expansive minimalist imagery.

9 Responses to “More on Time of the Wolf”

  1. hugh macleod
    July 6th, 2004 | 8:56 pm

    (*Coughs*) Actually, it’s “Dogme”.

    “Dogme 95” if you want to be REALLY pedantic.

    Danish, not English etc.

    Dogme (95) is so VERY European: “Let’s put it all in writing so we know what to do the next time we wish to rock the establishment!”

  2. cynthia rockwell
    July 6th, 2004 | 9:01 pm

    pardon my typo.

  3. cynthia rockwell
    July 7th, 2004 | 12:49 pm

    p.s. LOL

  4. Aaron
    July 7th, 2004 | 6:08 pm

    That’s really weird about the photo, but IMDB actually does have the correct info for the film; it’s just listed under its French name: “Le Temps du Loup”

  5. cynthia rockwell
    July 7th, 2004 | 7:01 pm

    yeah i saw that underneath today. i wonder if the other film does exist and has the same title but they just used the wrong photo.

  6. drew
    July 8th, 2004 | 2:51 am

    Mikey used a black screen for at least a minute in that incendiary l’il flick of his. 🙂

  7. cynthia rockwell
    July 8th, 2004 | 8:44 am

    to what purpose? in docs it’s different, errol morris does it all the time–here you’re in darkness cuz the characters are and it’s scary and very uncomfortable. but i haven’t seen f9/11…

  8. Chuck
    July 9th, 2004 | 1:07 pm

    Instead of showing the impact of the planes hitting the World Trade Towers, MM has a complete black screen with just the audio. It’s probably one of the smartest moments in teh film.

  9. cynthia rockwell
    July 9th, 2004 | 2:11 pm

    oh right i heard about that. still it’s very very different to do it in a documentary.