Time of the Wolf

Release Date: June 25, 2004
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Sunday, May 16, 2004
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I hope there aren't nine heads in that duffle bag.

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50/133 Dan Krovich Another dark look at humanity from Haneke, but not his greatest

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From the director of such idiosyncratic films as Funny Games and The Piano Teacher, Time of the Wolf is an apocalyptic drama that saw its premiere at Cannes in 2003. It's now making its way to North America in its native French language with English subtitles.

The film is helmer Michael Haneke's second collaboration with acclaimed French actress Isabelle Huppert, who received rave notices for her performance in the aforementioned The Piano Teacher. She plays Anna, mother of a French family that travels to a holiday home for a vacation. When they arrive, they find that it is occupied by strangers. This odd event is only the beginning, as the group finds themselves confronted with a painful learning process. Something enormously catastrophic occurs (the "what" of it is something the director leaves for the characters' emotions to convey rather than special effects), and their homeland nosedives into a post-apocalyptic environment. The family must adapt to very strange new circumstances.

Much like Haneke's previous film Funny Games, Time of the Wolf is a very harsh and forbidding story. The decay of social order that he explores involves violence and other ugly human acts, including racism. It's a realistic examination of how people might react to such dismal events. As the director says, "This film is about danger, about catastrophe. I wasn't looking for anything spectacular and unreal. I wanted to find a situation with which the audience could identify. I wasn't looking to explain the catastrophe. I wanted to get the spectators thinking about spoiled, post-industrial countries: what would happen if water stopped coming out of the faucet?”

Because of the brutality involved in the film, Time of the Wolf is not going to be for everyone. Still, Haneke has developed a following of fans interested in his atypical take on societal mores. Additionally, with Huppert gaining popularity thanks to her well-regarded performances in The Piano Teacher and 8 Femmes, this new film is one that should generate some interest amongst those who follow the indie circuit. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Time of the Wolf
Main Cast Isabelle Huppert, Maurice Benichou, Lucas Biscombe
Supporting Cast Patrice Chereau, Pierre Berriau, Costel Cascaval, Beatrice Dalle, Anais Demoustier, Daniel Duval, Marilyne Even, Luminita Gheorgiu, Olivier Gourmet, Rona Hartner, Florence Loiret-Caille, Brigitte Rouan, Branko Samarovski, Thierry Van Werveke
Director Michael Haneke
Screenwriter Michael Haneke
Distributor Palm Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating R
Running Time 113 minutes
Screen Count 2
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