Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hour of the Wolf

directed by: Ingmar Bergman Year of Release: 1968 Running Time: 90 minutes

Hour of the Wolf refers to the hour between night and dawn, the time when most people pass on and infants are born. This title suits Bergman's very personal vision of an artist giving in to insanity, an insomniac unable to sleep due to his fear of the unknown or his own demons that stalk him during this hour. Shot in black and white, the art-house film follows a painter and his young wife who move to a isolated, densely wooded island where the only neighbors are ghoulish, sinster aristocrats who reside in Gothic mansion at the top of the island.
Hour of the Wolf is perhaps the most pure representation of a nightmare I have seen, it's sometimes very freighting but also highly surreal, bizarre, deeply personal, confusing and disorienting. Real life nightmares aren't perfectly linear,easy explained, easily accessible, flashy, thrill a minute rollarcoasters that horror movies about nightmares often are. Bergman's film is the complete opposite and a thus challenge to watch, it's not entirely audience friendly. While its frustrating at times, it's hard to ignore Berman's genius. Hour of the Wolf is still a unique, unnerving and quietly freighting film that is best watched in the semi-lucid state that comes in the wee hours of night to get the the full effect.

Rating: 3/5

This film is avalible currently on DVD from MGM which is out of print, but also avliable in-print in a Bergman Boxed set.

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