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Time Of The Wolf [DVD] 
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Isabelle Huppert stars in this tense post-apocalyptic drama, set in a world in which society has completely broken down. Anne (Huppert) flees the city with her husband and two children, hoping to find refuge at the family's country home. But when they arrive they realise they have made a terrible mistake, and must embark on a harrowing journey across a land devasted by disaster.
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I believe that the title "Time of the Wolf" belongs to Norse myth and Ragnarok - the Twilight of the Gods. Norse mythology is one where even the Gods die.
Tied to this concept is the Legend of the Just. Which I must admit is new to me. This concerns the idea of a handful of people who throughout time have been prepared to sacrifice themselves through self-immolation to save mankind and rekindle the protection of the Gods.
I am not too concerned with comments that this movie is bleak - Apocalypse isn't generally known for its laughs. Some reviews find it frustrating that the disaster is not described but I found a clue in a drawing pinned to the wall...
There is much that is emotionally stirring in the movie: a relationship between Eva and the feral boy who dares not trust; and of course a mother who must protect her children.
There are intellectually interesting themes too: the culture of romance that has developed over male-female relations is stripped bare. Men are either protectors and providers or alternatively predators and thieves? At the desolate railway station the main characters end up, that reading is too simplistic.
Of course, when a society comes under pressure the first victims are foreigners and here I began to sense a theme to Haneke's work.
Those that see nothing in this movie may have been conditioned by the Hollywood dream-factory formula of love, trust yourself and redemption themes. Those themes that are recycled again and again and are warm and comfortable but ultimately don't unsettle or stretch your mind.
TOTW strips away our Western complacency and shows a what-if scenario when others lay claim to your security and social constraints are dismantled. Haneke uses shock tactics evident in the murder of the father, the real deaths of animals, rape at knifepoint and xenophobic scape-goating. Women, children and animals have the lowest place in the new hierarchy. Some cut their own throats or wish to sacrifice themselves. The subtext seems to be ethnic cleansing, refugees and trouble in the Balkans. Extremist religious beliefs of the `Just 36' seem to flourish. The moody cinematography takes place in darkness, blazing fires the only light source. Fire is both destructive and brings hope. Inside the railway depot is a grey, crepuscular light. There is no soundtrack. Things are gloomy. This vision of Judgement Day reflects harsh reality for thousands of war refugees each year. The only sparks of hope are Eva's friendship with the ostracised outsider figure and Benny's new found father-figure who saves him from immolation. The ending too, is almost cheerful, a green luscious landscape insunshine from a moving train.The film for me lacks the coherence of Hidden and the brilliance of Code Unknown.This film needed a simpler narrative(e.g. 28 Days Later, Strayed, Shame).The austerity, desolation and violence recalled his earlier 7th Continent. Haneke doesn't really work through his ideas of the `36Just' and mostly he doesn't utilise Huppert's considerable talents,so she becomes a bystander. Demestier steals the film for me.
The family's world unravels in a single brutal moment and the ensuing quest for sanctuary is a compelling human drama enacted with economy and understatement even when emotions are fierce and raw.
While we recognise how thin the veneer of civilisation can be when society breaks down the narrative of Haneke's film also subtley demonstrates the collective urge to organise and for natural leaders to emerge as a fundamental human trait.
Running through the film is a narrative thread, a post-apocalyptic fable, which informs the film's shocking but powerfully humane denouement.
The film is without music and the cinematography is artful but unobtrusive allowing the audience to focus on some superbly naturalistic performances including those of Huppert and especially Anais Demoustier who plays Eva, the young teenage daughter.
You may have to watch it a few times to get the important, small charisms out.
You know it is right but what would I do in that situation; we like to think we'd be our best and to be the best means moral and noble; but how well do we really know ourselves? To live on day by day like those in the Warsaw Ghetto before the Aktions is akin to this.
Real love? Not sure if I can put that into words but this film goes some way to put it into actions.
Brilliant Director; Thanks Mr Haneke!!
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