Hour of the Wolf

Hour of the Wolf ★★★★

Hooptober 666 #32

So unfortunately I have no way of accessing the film I was planning to watch (Inside) so to make amends I threw this on. I didn't really have to as I still met all the requirements without it but I still felt sad that I was missing one in my Hopptober list so here I am. I've fallen hard into Bergman these past months and thanks to the criterion channel this marks the 5th. The last one was Scenes from a Marriage and after that massive undertaking I needed a small break. What a triumphant return Hour of the Wolf was!

After The Lighthouse released this month I was more than happy to delve into another isolationist tale about madness presented in black and white with a claustrophobic aspect ratio. A gothic stark surrealist journey into the mind of a tortured artist juggling themes of self identity, sexuality and personal relationships with a dash of folklore for good measure awash in moody lighting. Absolutely love the framing device, Ullmann remains a treasure and one of the most photogenic faces in cinema. The films climax has some of my favorite scene's I've seen of Bergman thus far.

The idea of this film being an allegory for Bergman wrestling with his own emotions about leaving his wife and child behind (one set that is) adds yet another layer of complexity to the compacted narrative. Bergman was a complicated man and with how many romantic relationships and trysts with women he had, many of whom had career's dependent on him, well that to me doesn't paint him in the best light. He did create some of the most complicated and memorable roles for women in cinema history bringing us some truly great actresses as well. Still to say he was flawed with women is putting it lightly. Does seeing him explore his fear of public judgement on this topic in such a way make him more or less sympathetic? Honestly it's something I'm still wrestling with. I'm no expert on the man so maybe further reading or some of you may be able to shed more light on the subject but to me when the film is viewed through this lens it just didn't make me feel very good about him.

That being said it's also important to seperate the art from the artist and this is an exquisite work of art. Besides art shouldn't be easy, it should make one wrestle with inner quandaries to help us better understand eachother and ourselves. Sorry for the long ramble, it's late.

Absolutely recommend.

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