Time Of The Wolf (Madman)

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Michael Haneke’ Time of the Wolf is probably his most difficult film yet. It’s heavy going. And you know that’s saying something for the man behind the abrupt aggression of Funny Games, the bleakness of The Piano Teacher and more recently the guilt ridden The Hidden. Even the sound design is impossibly violent, where a character simply opening a can of soft drink comes across as a terrifying act. Yet the violence is sprinkled liberally throughout (and itself is curiously tedious) in this strange gruelling post apocalyptic study- to the extent that you could excuse the sound as the character’ symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Nonetheless it’s an interesting set up to examine human interaction once the social mores and patterns of normal behaviour are removed. In 1996 the Trigger Effect chronicled similar terrain, with polite society crumbling once the power fails, however Haneke is approaching this world in a much more elusive, intellectual and dare I say European fashion. Isabelle Huppert turns in a memorable performance as a mother who battles to keep her family together, Beatrice Dalle also pops up in a large cast, where we see people wrenched from the luxury and security of their lives and forced to adapt simply to survive.

Extra Features:
It’s this point that is repeated by Huppert in an interview, where she notes the characters are shifted by circumstance from their affluent Western lifestyle into the way in which the rest of the world live – simply struggling to survive. She also suggests quite romantically that she sees Haneke as a cross between Bresson and Hitchcock. There’ a great interview with a cagey Haneke who speaks of his desire to make a film about the end of the world and make it real and human for the very people who are desensitised by the tails of misery and disaster on the news each night. There’ some behind the scenes footage and a making of documentary rounding out an illuminating collection of extras for a difficult and disturbing film.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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