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  • This is a stark, dark, unconventional, and unsettling story film. But in the context of that chaos, what it means to be human is beautifully developed. The story revolves around a single French family thrown into the countryside in some post-apocalyptic period. The producer uses an almost documentary approach to the story. This reveals to us the rather drastic and desperate nature of their circumstances, but, unexpectedly, also reveals things like kindness to strangers, forbearance with other's weaknesses, fortitude, and reaching out. These positive human traits are contrasted with those of the stubborn uncaring adolescent boy who would rather hang off in the wood, and venture in only to steal what he wants... the lone Wolf. Its a very engaging and moving work. At one point, I found myself in tears at one particularly heart-rending scene. Humanity at a time of great stress is poignantly pictured, both in its strengths, and in its Sin. The acting is simply incredible, especially the mother and her younger daughter. Unlike the Hollywood films, this film offers no magic solutions, no instant fixes, no easy outs. Goverments have failed, and now common people are paying the price. Society has been reduced to the lowest common denominators. But the film seems to conclude with the idea that recovery is possible, through cooperation and sacrifice. There is some closure to the family's immediate straits. This film has the power to make us think about what we are doing to each other, and what might possibly happen if we let them go over the edge............
  • It is funny to me how a lot of people react to this movie. It seems they feel that this movie shows us decadent westerners what living in more impoverished and exploited parts of the globe is like. Well, it's a very fine film, but that certainly not what it's about. To reduce every artistic expression to world affairs is a rather shameless exposition of western self-guilt and political correctness. Now, there is enough to be ashamed about, but why should that always be connected to artistic expressions of western artists. Please stop politicizing everything. Le Temps du Loup is not about the third world, anyone who thinks that third world countries look any thing like what is happening in Haneke's film is out of his/her mind. News flash, people in the third world actually life daily, relatively stable lives, notwithstanding rampant poverty and high levels of violence and unsafety. What we see in Le Temps du Loup is what Hobbes means by "State of Nature", a lawless, non-dominated society. What Haneke shows in minute detail (and in that lies his greatest accomplishment) is that human connection, trust and intimacy is always in some senses based on dominating practices that stabilize the uncertainties and risks of interacting and competing with others in a shared social environment. The ambiguous status of the Koslowski character is a case in point, are his actions justifiable or is he just an exploitative oppressor? Same for the horse, but now in a more confronting way, because the line between fact and fiction is crossed. So Temps du Loup is an analysis of human co-habitation of any human society. Art is not political, what we do with it is.
  • A French woman (Isabelle Huppert) and her two young children struggle for survival shortly after an unidentified apocalypse. This is a very different sort of post-apocalyptic film--it is very minimalist and dramatic. The most fascinating aspect is that whatever happened to the world is never explained or even discussed by the characters. The only thing they know is that uncontaminated water is scarce and personal belongings are very valuable. They are living in the present, fighting for survival. The characters are often devoid of extreme emotion during the crises they face in the film, so the viewer assumes that whatever happened that changed the world must have been graphic and brutal.

    Haneke is an exceptional filmmaker and has quite an eye. The combination of lingering camera-work and lack of score create an uneasy tension. Some might argue that the movie is boring because there isn't much action, but I thought it was visually stunning. The movie attempts to be about post-apocalypse social struggle and power--including conflict between different nationalities and genders--but it could have been more successful in doing this. The acting is outstanding (especially by Huppert and the actress that plays her daughter). Even though she gets co-billing, Beatrice Dalle is only in the film for a bit, but she does have a "Betty Blue"-style freak-out. I recommend this to anyone who likes post-apocalypse movies and is interested in seeing a hauntingly realistic one.

    My Rating: 7/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In an undefined time, the environment has been totally destroyed and now the water is contaminated and the animals have been burned. Georges Laurent (Daniel Duval) travels with her wife Anne Laurent (Isabelle Huppert), their teenage daughter Eva (Anaïs Demoustier) and their son Ben (Lucas Biscombe) from the city to their cabin in the countryside. On the arrival, they find that intruders have broken in the house, and one stranger kills George.

    Anne, Eva and Ben wander through the village asking for shelter and supplies for their acquaintances, but they refuse to help them. They reach an abandoned barn and spend the night inside. On the next morning, they meet a teenage boy and they walk together to a train station, where they find other survivors. Together, they wait for the train expecting to go to a better place in the middle of the chaos.

    "Le temps du loup", a.k.a. "Time of the Wolf" is a pessimist and depressive view by Michael Haneke of a society without rules, basically the end of the civilization. The story begins with the uncomfortable violence of "Funny Games", with the stranger unexpectedly shooting Georges. The plot is totally different from the post-apocalyptic view of Hollywood movies and there are scenes hard to be seen. Isabelle Huppert and Anaïs Demoustier have extraordinary performances. Hope that the world never comes to this point, probably is what many viewers will think watching this movie. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): Not Available
  • zetes25 December 2004
    If there's one subgenre that particularly appeals to me, it is the post-apocalyptic movie, or any movie dealing with the end of civilization. I don't know why the subject fascinates me so, but it does. Haneke's The Time of the Wolf is one of the best of its type ever made. Some sort of cataclysm has occurred – all we really know is that most water supplies are tainted – and we follow a mother and her two children (the father is with them when the film opens) as they vie for survival. Life now is all about the few material possessions you have preserved. You try to hold onto a semblance of your values, but they seem mostly vestigial. Isabelle Huppert returns as Haneke's star. She and her children are the point around which everything happens, but they are just three people amongst many. The young girl who plays her daughter, Anaïs Demoustier, gives a particularly amazing performance. We talked (ed: on the Classic Film forum of IMDb) last week (or perhaps the week before) about the directors influenced by Hitchcock and those influenced by Bresson, and Huppert in an interview explains how both directors have influenced Haneke. It's definitely true. Haneke uses suspense in a much different manner than Hitchcock, but the devices are surprisingly similar.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoy apocalypse movies of all types and have watched hundreds of them and am always on the lookout for more, but I must say that this is the worst apocalypse film I have ever watched.

    The movie doesn't even feel like a movie. The first 5 minutes of the movie are the only story you will get. From there on it is just watching dirty people suffer.

    I am unsure what the plot of this movie is or what story it is telling? Movies should entertain or at least tell a story.

    You could sit on a street corner in any city and see a more engaging story told as the world passed by.

    I have no idea why this film has to many high marks on IMDb.

    Why would I want to sit and watch someone eating cookies for 5 minutes? When the lady is looking for her son you must endure 5 minuted of her shrill voice calling "Benne" over and over. It is horrendous.

    This movie is like a work of art, I suppose, in that one person may see something deep and meaningful while another will only see lumps of paint. This movie is lumps of paint to me.
  • Haneke's nightmare vision of a post-apocalyptic world is darkly atmospheric and beautifully photographed. True, there isn't much of a plot and the pace is slow. The film is primarily a mood piece, but a very good one. Unlike the usual end-of-the-world thriller, the characters aren't facing any ghoulish monsters other than each other. This approach lends a striking realism to the movie.

    Some of Haneke's films -- especially "Funny Games" -- are marred by heavy-handed social commentary. Happily, this is not a problem in "Time of the Wolf." One can always read politics into any allegory, but it is quite unnecessary in this film. I neither know nor care whether Haneke had a specific political situation in mind; what matters is that the resulting movie stands on its own as an artistic achievement.

    8/10. Recommended for fans of grim, moody films.
  • If you want to believe that you are a superior form of humanity, watch this film and then tell everyone you know that they must see it, that it will move them deeply, and that they will never be the same thereafter. When those who do watch it tell you how bored they were, act shocked and say, "oh my goodness, how is that possible?" This is a great example of what I'd call an "anti-film." Imagine going to a contemporary art gallery for a reception, and you are the first one to arrive. You come upon a construction that features a small catapult. As you get close to it, the catapult is set off, and a small pile of feces is flung in your face. Wasn't that great "art?" If you think so, this film is for you, no doubt. I enjoy dark, disturbing films, but it still must be a good film. To provide examples of my tastes, I'll cite "The Beloved," "A Clockwork Orange," "Dogville" and "Stalker," (though not nearly as good as these, I'd much rather watch "American Psycho" than TotW).

    Perhaps the idea was to create a didactic experience. Does this film teach us anything? Not if you've ever seen a documentary on Nazi atrocities. For me, there must be something intriguing. The characters can all be detestable, for instance, but then something else has to "step up." There could be humor ("black"), for example. In "The Rapture," there was a sociological element that was effective (though I'm not suggesting this film was excellent - again, at least it was a "film"!). I really like the idea of an "anti-horror film," actually. Rather than having "zombies" pop up every so often and chase the leading characters around, why not show the quiet desperation people feel when they know that there are forces about to destroy them, but they don't understand those forces, and don't know exactly how (or when) they will be destroyed (which could mean actual death or a psychological "meltdown").

    I was hoping this would be the case for the film "Blindness" (which I saw before this one), but instead experienced a bland, rather conventional construction that was not compelling on any level. However, at least "Blindness" was a film, and not an insult to the audience. As I was watching it, I could hope that it would develop into something interesting. When it was over, I could imagine a better ending that might have made it work. In contrast, "Time of the Wolf" has so many flaws that it is simply not worth the mental effort to consider in depth. As some of the ancient Greeks realized, a "work of art" requires a central focus. Otherwise, it is decorative ornament, at best. Basically, this is an anti-hero version of "The Omega Man." Again, this is a good idea, but it's essential to execute it well, instead of creating a snide, sophomoric, pointless mess.
  • Just saw TIME OF THE WOLF in New York City, and it is a complete pleasure. A very subtle film about individual and mass psychology after an unnamed cataclysm.

    Also a cautionary tale about having plenty of fresh batteries, lighters, and a good knife, or knives, on hand (you never know when you're going to have to skin your own dinner; hey, call me extreme when that unnamed cataclysm comes around).

    An added bonus: no digital effects (although I think they got lucky with fog one day, and made a beautiful scene with it), no manic editing as a substitute for storytelling, no facile heroics, no predictable deus ex will cleanse the visual palette. It stars Isabelle Huppert, but she is so naturalistic you forget she's Isabelle Huppert.

    For an altogether different, but equally pleasurable, although more theatrical, yet completely underrated take on the unnamed cataclysm bit, see

    A BOY AND HIS DOG. A dream of a movie.
  • alexx66818 February 2005
    "Temps Du Loup" is probably Michael Haneke's most successful attempt at presenting his bleak outlook on mankind.

    Vaguely set in a post-apocalyptic world, the film works both ways: a. at isolating various institutions and values (society, family, religion) outside of their normal environment, and therefore analyzing them more thoroughly; b. as an exercise in evoking beautiful imagery out of spartan and plain settings.

    While the first is certainly no new ground for Haneke (the storyline is less complex than his previous effort, "La Pianiste", yet the scope is much grander), the second means that this is his most cinematic and elegant effort yet.
  • Following an unnamed disaster, a mother and her two kids joins a group of people hoping for a train to come by at a station. That's the extent of the plot in this film.

    I was bored out of my skull.

    I've seen some indulgent "art" films, but this is one of the best examples I've seen. Five minute shot of family chewing on cookies, five minute single take of the family walking along the road and five minute shot of a burning building...on and on.

    One can make a point about seeing beauty in everyday "things"...yes, but after an hour and forty minutes of it, all I saw was gray. Performances were good, but everything was so stripped down and bare that I just couldn't connect with any of the characters.

    Ending was sort of an interesting one, but it is basically a slight escalation in the continuously desolate situation the characters are faced with. Nothing is resolved, and the desolation and despair will continue on.

    It has some interesting views on society and human nature, but again, so few and far between that whatever message this film tries to make falls to pieces.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For this movie they killed a horse. On screen. Let me put that another way. A bunch of people making a sci-fi flick sat around drinking coffee and worked out how to kill a horse. That the horse died seems to have made them feel in some sense authentic. To me it's the action of a moral imbecile. It's fiction. A movie. Nothing needs to die to make a movie.

    I've admired this director's films in the past - particularly 'Funny Games' - but this piece is badly thought out and incomprehensibly acted. It's really just 'Stagecoach' without a coherent narrative. Its vision of some kind of disaster is only credible if you don't think about it.

    I should add that I saw no more of it after the death of the horse. But by that time the script, when it could be understood, had already veered off into some kind of parable. Which tends to be what people write when they're reaching for Big Thoughts but don't have anything to say. Plus, it's all so dark it's extremely difficult to tell what's going on. Perhaps it's easier on the eye in a movie house. But then they kill the horse.

    This is the kind of nonsense that gets art films a bad name. It's also a retread of the much better Bergman film 'Shame'.

    You'll have guessed by now that I did not have a good time watching this tripe.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Time of the Wolf may be the most unrelievedly bleak 2 hours available. Other than a few horrific scenes of animal cruelty (is there no French equivalent of the ASPCA?), Wolf's pain in relentless, but relentlessly muted. After all, unbridled pain would suggest the possibility of cartharsis or resolution, and there is none of either to be found here.

    In the first scene, a man is murdered in cold blood, and his family seems hardly ruffled by this inconvenience, instead carrying on with the same grim determination that has gripped this film since the beginning of time (or, at least, the opening credits). A litany of misfortune follows -- overwrought nose bleeds, a perishing parakeet, accidental torching of the barn the blighted family takes shelter in, the liaison with a deranged youth (to whom the teenage daughter is inexplicably attracted, despite his physical, emotional and psychological repulsiveness), make-believe self-immolation.

    Perhaps intended as a 21st Century ode to Camus's "The Plague," Wolf tells us nothing we don't already know. People's most evil inner nature emerges in the time of great crisis --- duh! Wolf is probably closer to Lord of the Flies, but absent all elements of surprise and drama.

    Incongruously, there is much footage of verdant fields and forests, including a wheat field rustling somewhere near the little train station of horrors, where the benighted survivors of some unexplained eco-disaster seem to accumulate by accident. Perhaps this scenery is intended as irony, but irony suggests, in some small way, a sense of humor at work, and there is surely no such sense at work in this film.

    Or maybe there is? When the film ends, more or less, with the utterance of "everything could still work out, maybe even tomorrow," the viewer is left wondering if Woody Allen was asked to provide the closing dialog. But to little avail -- the viewer is likely to have slit his wrists well before tomorrow.
  • If, at the start of Time of the Wolf, you are aware of Michael Haneke's 1997 shocker, Funny Games, you may believe that this film will be treading similar grounds. Opening the film, the 2 point 4 children Laurent family arrive at their holiday shack in the wilderness of an undisclosed location. On entering, they are confronted with a man holding a shotgun towards them (his own family peering from behind him). After demanding that they hand over any goods they have, he shoots the father (Daniel Duval) dead. However, unlike the familial hostages of Funny Games, the remaining Laurent's make their way to a local for help, and the audience is startled by the matriarch, Anne's (Isabelle Huppert), admission that they had buried the father. We are certainly not in the regular world; this place is different, a point that is further exacerbated when Anne is asked if she is aware of what is going on.

    Time of the Wolf is unfamiliar territory concerning its central concept of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Whilst the catalyst for this disaster (?) is never revealed, there is no indication of the generic science fiction tropes of disaster. No zombie/alien, or natural catastrophe's are highlighted. The ambiguity of the nature of the devastation creates a tension that is completely absent from the ordinary, explicit films of this nature. As the family trudge their way through the countryside, they cross the distinct furnaces of bonfires, sometimes the only light source in the darkness - at one time the legs of burning cow carcasses protrude from a fire. Their final stop, a building inhabited by "survivors" waiting for a train that may never arrive.

    Perhaps Time of the Wolf states more about the consumer society we live in today. The shackles of consumption, and the artefacts of the modern world become useless in this context. Jewels and watches are pointless commodities, whilst lighters, water and clothing are worthy of exchange. Maybe the apocalypse is the result of dwindling resources, a reality that Earth will have to face in the future (perhaps the near), where agriculture, manufacture and natural fuel have all but disappeared. With this lack of resources, comes the desperation of the people, bringing out the worst in humanity. The strong male figures take control, whilst women are often reduced to trading in sex, and are largely marginalised in the fold. Our natural affinity as pack animals falls apart, and xenophobia erupts, targeting anything that might break the monotony and fraught situation.

    With a distilled colour pallet, often only lit with fire, and the bleak wilderness of fog, Haneke creates a realistic world, heaving with pain and anxiety. His precise camera movements and compositions frame the disaster as beauty. Time of the Wolf would probably not suit the regular sci-fi frequenter of post-apocalypse, it does not present itself with the same signifiers and does not portray the Hollywood hero or saviour, and it absolutely does not offer the resolution that most would need to be satisfied with. This is the hopelessness of humanity in all of its desperation, with the modern luxuries obliterated, and reduced by the lack of necessities. But with this bleakness comes horror, and the complexities of humanity. It is a hard view, but one that rewards in aesthetics, and the confluence of characters.
  • It is bizarre to watch a film as relentlessly gloomy; as impeccably shot and as seemingly brim full the notion that great danger might very well be lurking around the corner just hit the wall and die in the way that Time of the Wolf does. Here is the post-apocalyptic movie wherein we do not get the feeling the apocalypse has actually happened; here is the film depicting the fallout to a great terror wherein we actually feel unthreatened, unthreatened by not only what this newfangled world looks like but additionally by the very item that brought everything to what it now resembles. It is a strange thing indeed; not anything that transpires within, but how relentlessly dull Austrian director Michael Haneke actually makes the end of civilised life in France actually look. To think that the likes of then-recent French films La Haine and Irreversible actually set themselves within functioning societies as we know they exist, yet still managed to construct what felt like a bubbled universe of decay and hatred, is extraordinary.

    In its purest of forms, the film is barely much more than a cluster of people bedded down in a single location for its entire duration - during this time, people sit; stand; speak; argue; walk around and wait for a train to arrive. This was fine, when it was Sydney Lumet's 12 Angry Men. Ah yes; the train: the reason for the likelihood of a train coming and going is that these people occupy a railway side signal booth, a small but large enough structure in the remote ruralness of somewhere-or-another which they all inhabit as the skies cloud over, the grimaces on the characters' faces tighten and everyone lives in fear of........some wild dogs.

    The lead is Isabelle Huppert's Anne Laurent, a woman whose husband is killed in front of her and who must flee a holiday property with her two children, Ben and Eva, when what appears to be a group of squatters ambush them upon arrival. Aghast, they are sent away into the gloomy new world of death and terror without supplies or any clue as to what's happening. Seven years before John Hillcoat's The Road, itself an episodic and somewhat patchy post-global catastrophe flick in need of some serious revisions in regards to its ending, they wonder around varying country streets and dirt roads unaware of what's happened. It is around this point that they meet a young woman who outlines the severity of the situation and invites them along to that aforementioned signal box. En route at night, sheep are heard in the nearby proximity of the Laurent's and then found eerily mangled the following morning, whereas a measure of the newfound world we're all now living in is exemplified when the stumbling across of a dead individual induces the taking of said corpse's jacket, on account of the fact they no longer need it. It is very much dog-eat-dog, or rather dog-eat-you-if-you-aren't-careful-enough. I think.

    Some will take to it as a gloomy, pent up and claustrophobic masterpiece churned out by one of modern cinemas more exciting auteur's via a film industry (in the French) who rarely put a foot wrong when Luc Besson isn't involved. I say it's the same scene peddled over and over for the sort of cheerless thrills which wear thin after about twenty minutes. Time of the Wolf's greatest sin perhaps lies with its inability to be able to purvey the required amount of fear linked to the scenario, nor indeed provide us with enough in the form of reasons to empathise with anyone involved. Where Haneke bites off a solid chunk of this post-apocalyptic genre infused approach, he decides to spin it in a way which is ambitious although ultimately flat and unaffecting. When lined up against the frighteningly distanced tone found in 2002's 28 Days Later, or that immense sense of hopelessness and confusion omnipresent throughout Night of the Living Dead, Time of the Wolf trips over its own sky-high aspirations and dulls the senses when it ought to be stirring them. Haneke was much more pleasurable, if that is the correct word, when he subverted traditional codes of a certain branch of the horror film in Funny Games.

    In terms of characterisation, at least Hillcoat's aforementioned The Road had this often quite touching central bond between a father and son as the elder readied the younger for the day he may no longer be around. There was a depressing air of inevitability about the exchanges; as if there was something deep down that was acknowledged, although ultimately unspoken, between the two of them and we felt the intensity of their plight between not only the odds but one another. It is films like Time of the Wolf you might say are fabricated to catch the viewer out, a film one watches and takes note as its air of pomposity becomes more obvious; a film very gradually insinuating that it is illegal and stupid to take to something like Synder's remake of Dawn of the Dead over that of Time of the Wolf, as if watching a horror film such as this one in which the threat is off screen and unspecified is good or "correct" whilst a bit of on screen splatter and cut-and-dry zombies being the clear antagonists for idiots. There is a patronising, overly confident tone to Time of the Wolf; a false, distanced attitude to its proceedings which is unpleasant and stiff – as if it were continuously making a point on how bad most films of Time of the Wolf's ilk usually are and how intelligent and mediative this one is. Regardless, I'll happily spend time trapped in a shopping mall over there with those guys in that Romero flick than that of the signal box with these people any day.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For me, the most disturbing thing about this film was the zombie-like family at its centre. Isabelle Huppert's deadpan performance is matched by the two children, who react to their father's murder with no more concern than if their car had broken down.

    Although a number of scenes—such as extended shots of the three walking and walking and walking—are slow and seemingly pointless, the film nonetheless jerks erratically from one scene to another as if footage has been accidentally lost. Plot twists are ridiculously contrived, as when the son disappears in the middle of a pitch-black night for no reason, and the daughter then does likewise, simply to allow an untended fire to get out of control.

    Given a better script, a more competent director, and characters capable of enlisting the viewer's sympathy, this might have been worth watching.
  • stensson4 June 2004
    Hanneke is the only director of his kind. His world is depressing. Courage, kindness, love is of no use.

    But there is a glimpse of light at the end of this movie. Courage is rewarded from someone you didn't expect that from. Maybe Hanneke is getting old, but you think a little about Tarkovskij's "Ivan Rublov". Whatever happens, man begins to create again. Even in a total social collapse and it doesn't matter whether it's 15th century Russia or France of today.

    There is great power in Beatrice Dalle's acting here. European film needs her. Isabelle Hupert is tuned down. Not a big sacrifice for such a big artist.
  • This is a powerful film which not only lingered in my thoughts for days, but which gave me, and those who saw it with me, vivid nightmares. Although the story of people trying to survive in the aftermath of a disaster is nothing new, Haneke's bleak vision of an imploding society packs not only a punch but also a long, increasingly unbearable squeeze. The cinematography lends a stunning realism: night shots really look like night, the fog shots are eerily beautiful - these all conspire brilliantly to drag you further into the nightmare. Rhythmically, Haneke is masterful, and the acting - especially by Isabelle Huppert - is excellent. From start to its hair-raising, Tarkovsky-esque finish, Temps du Loup is something of a miracle, capturing our disparate natures down to the core.
  • jschenk-15 January 2004
    I really enjoyed Haneke´s last movie "La Pianiste", especially the excellent acting by Isabelle Huppert. "Temps du loup" is not even half as good. The screenplay does not work, it makes no sense. Nothing is explained and we - the audience - are left with a bad taste of wasted time. Isabelle Huppert is also not really good in this movie. I had no sympathy with any of the characters, except maybe the daughter of I.H.. To my thoughts - the worst movie I´ve seen since Matrix Reloaded.
  • I do very much like the premise of this movie. I like post apocalyptic themes as much as the next guy, but i did not entirely enjoy the follow through of Time of the Wolf.

    Giving a synopsis sounds great. A quick cover of what happens sounds good in and of itself, but the actual movie has all these things happen at a snails pace. It's subtle to a fault. I found myself staring at overly long shots, and glancing at the time every so often. Interesting things do happen in this movie, but you would've fooled me if you showed them to me. A stranger holding your son hostage, conflicts occurring within the only established society, even a father being shot and killed, all these are engaging moments but i could not have been much more bored than i was when i saw them. Like i said, far too many loooooong shots with not a lot happening in them. It did not keep me interested at all.

    However, the cinematography was great. The actors for their part did well. The script was pretty solid. The main family characters were sort of interesting, it's a shame there wasn't more done with them.

    I only recommend this if you have a lot of patience and have the attention span to stay with it's extremely slow pace 5/10 not great but not terrible
  • This is definitely one of the worst and most boring movies I have ever seen. The whole thing seems completely pointless, does not provoke in any way, and ends up as nothing more than l'art pour l'art in my opinion... I am a big fan of Haneke's other movies, but this one is a low point in his career.
  • I hate to say this: this is a film that kept me watching, even interested, throughout - but when I went home and thought about the message "what was it this film tried to say?" there was nothing.

    the children, maybe? - teen age daughter cannot communicate with mother. so what else is new? (we never even get a hint as to why), pre-teen son turns mute - hm. Mother never talks at all (can one count yelling as talking? is "where d'ya come from" talking?).

    In extraordinary circumstances, how do people react? Certainly not the way they do in this film.

    Is there a story? no.

    Is it surreal, at least? never.

    just plain Bad (capital B intended) and very un-believable.

    But: very depressing. oh, yes: if the effect of depressing the audience makes a good film this one is great. If you think maybe there has to be something to be gained as well - you're out of luck.

    such a waste of actors and good camerawork/directing for such a stupid screenplay.

    2 out of 10
  • This is perhaps Haneke's least accessible work,which is not writing that his other works are entertaining stuff.The star Isabelle Huppert becomes some kind of walk on in the second part which makes me think that the movie would have been better without her (and using non professional actors à la Robert Bresson) This movie shows groups of people,leaving the cities (which we do not see) for... Nobody knows,a train is expected ,but where does it take its passengers?And does this train exist anyway? Several hints at the Bible might suggest another Deluge or another Sodom and and Gomorrah (the just men;a man uses the words :biblical simplicity) ,the station,with all his languages might be another tower of Babel,and the letter the boy writes to his late father has Christian accents (he really thinks his dad reads him from... Heaven?).

    Like this?Try these......

    "Black Moon" Louis Malle 1975

    "Skammen" Ingmar Berman 1968

    "Les égarés" André Téchiné 2003
  • ¿World War III? ¿A devastating epidemic? ¿A sudden change in the weather? ¿A definitive-lethal rising of the global contamination? In Michael haneke's last work, "The Time Of The Wolf", we don't get to find out what has happened. We don't know why people wander around without food or water; why do they kill each other for a can of Coke. We don't know why the whole system of us (shopping centers, Internet, McDonald's…) has gone to hell… but let me tell you: it doesn't matter that much why or how. That bible's Apocalypse it won't be anything but the man devouring the man, because the wolf of the title is the man himself; the humanity perishing by its own sins.

    Haneke portraits this Final Judgement with his usual coolness and brutality, and puts the spectators in front of such uncomfortable and disgusting situations (anyway, none of them are unnecessary or gratuitous –mmm OK, maybe we don't need to watch how someone cuts a horse's throat-). He is not moralist nor dogmatic, he judges no one, he doesn't say "this is the good shht, this is the evil one". He just puts his camera and lets the reality show up: some would sell their children for a glass a water, some would give their lives to save them… And for an extreme-brand new film from Michael Haneke there's nothing better than a veteran and full of talent actress like Isabelle Huppert. This time Hupper's character is not as excessive as the one from "The Pianist", because this time the excessive is the situation itself. There's nobody more appropriate for surviving in such an inhospitable and post-apocalyptic world than Cabrol's muse.

    Haneke-Huppert connection works greatly again and knocks us out like a Tysson's punch right to our faces.

    My rate: 8/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Time of the Wolf" is a film that appears to have been overlooked and underrated in the Haneke critical literature. Haneke has described the film as being about "how people treat each other when electricity no longer comes out of the outlet and when water no longer comes out of the faucet". He has also said that it focuses upon "very primal anxieties".

    The film takes it title from "Voluspa", an ancient Norse poem which describes Ragnarok, the end of the world. Bergman's "Hour of the Wolf" used the same source for its title. The narrative of the film describes the trials of a mother, Anne, a wonderfully committed performance by Isabelle Huppert and her two children, Eva and Ben, set adrift into a post apocalyptical world where society has broken down.

    Anne passes through the film with an unflinching, grim determination to move her family forward, despite witnessing the brutal murder of her husband George (yet another "George and Anne" at the head of a Haneke nuclear family) at the outset of the film. The family move away from the city to seek shelter in their countryside refuge in response to what appears to be the breakdown of society. We learn that uncontaminated water is scarce and at certain moments we see livestock being burned so there would appear to be some form of infection. Fire is to become a very important motif in the film.

    Haneke does not dwell on the reason for the "end of the world" because the theme of the film is to question how and why people our humanity makes us cling onto civil society and morals even when all appears to be lost. The cause of the apocalypse is unimportant and what we are left with is a once comfortable urban bourgeois family trying to survive when they are reduced to the level of refugees in Bosnia, a conflict fresh in Haneke's mind when he made this film.

    The film is shot in natural light, or perhaps more accurately for most of the film, natural dark! Night time shots leave us reaching desperately into the pitch black night. Ben goes missing from the temporary refuge they find in a barn. The cigarette lighter used by Anne and the torches of straw lit by her daughter as they search for him becoming ever distant tiny points of light against a black canvass, miniscule signs of contact and hope in an enveloping darkness. Until the barn itself becomes ablaze as one of the straw torches ignites the whole. Suddenly what was hope and refuge is a source of fear as too much light could attract danger.

    The Laurent family then encounter an unnamed teenage boy, played by Hakim Taleb. Unlike the outsiders who come to aid of the vulnerable in the usual sci-fi post apocalyptic film the boy eventually comes to symbolise a lack of commitment to societal norms, a betrayal of Eva's young ideals and his independence results in the amoral killing of a goat that was used to provide milk.

    The family come upon a vestigial community at a railway station. Here there is social order but the community is controlled by a leader Koslowski. Continuing presence in the community relies on the "residents" ability to barter and exchange whatever possessions remain or by the women offering sexual favours. Anne attempts to shield her young some from the brutality of their situation and literally shields Ben from a rape that takes place in their community Accusations against a Polish family of the murder of a farmer are accepted on the word of a guard and yet when during a moment of quiet horror the family who murdered her husband suddenly arrive at the station her accusations are discounted for lack of evidence. In a single parallel moment Haneke shows us the breakdown of a fair system of law and order and of the embedded xenophobia and racism that survives the dystopian future.

    Small glimpse of kindness and humanity survive in various gestures amongst the community, a bowl of milk is given for free, civilising classical music is shared on a walkman, entertainment is provided by a man who does magical tricks with razor blades and the void that follows the breakdown of our media driven society is filled by the creation of myths. This is the legend of the 35Just, a group who's mission is to safeguard humanity by self sacrifice in fire. The group are spoken about around camp fires in the night in the same way that myths and legends were passed down in the pre literature era – reinforcing the way that humans revert to primal responses in the face of the uncertainty of their world. The legend of this group climaxes in the powerful and moving scene where Ben, desolate, lost and intoxicated by the mythical tale of the 35Just, strips naked before a fire, again the only light in a pitch black night, and just as he is about to enter the flames he is stopped by one of the guards – un-coincidentally the one at the centre of the previously seen brutal treatment of the Polish family. The guard hugs the boy to him and offers him a vision of optimism.

    The film ends on a long tracking shot of a train travelling through the countryside. Has the family been rescued or this is a projection of the hope for the future? Either way, almost uniquely for Haneke, what is an otherwise bleak film appears to end on a note of hope.

    A terrifying and un-sensationalized vision of how modern man, without the embellishments of modern day society, quickly reverts to a primeval hierarchy, barter and mythology but that we can saved by the essential humanity that lies within us all.
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