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They snickered and whispered and made boors of themselves. For his theme, Bergman has borrowed from the materials of Gothic legend. His hero is an artist Max von Sydow , alienated from society, who lives on an island with his pregnant wife Liv Ullmann. On the other side of the island there is a castle inhabited by a baron and a menagerie of perverted friends.

At night, the artist is haunted by insomnia, paranoia and strange dreams. A great deal of the action takes place halfway between midnight and dawn -- the hour, Scott Fitzgerald said, which is the dark night of the soul.

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In a brief note, Bergman calls this the "Hour of the Wolf," and explains: "It is the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are more real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful. The Hour of the Wolf is also the hour when most children are born.

The artist is apparently going mad. He sits up night after night, staring into his candle, speaking with his wife of his strange dreams or are they memories? Bergman penetrates the man's subconscious to extract a series of bizarre nightmares and imaginations.

Hour Of The Wolf Review

He slips these hallucinations back and forth across the line of reality, so that occasionally what seems to be a dream becomes gruesomely real. This is the case with the most powerful image in the film, an act of necrophilia that becomes a practical joke. Much of the film retains Bergman's ability to obtain deeply emotional results with very stark, almost objective, scenes. One night the artist tells his wife of a time when he was a child. He was shut up in a dark closet and told by his parents that a little man in there would eat his toes off. In terror, the child began climbing up on shelves, and boxes, begging to be released.

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Another night, the artist tells of a day when he went fishing at the seashore and was joined by a small boy. We see this scene in heavily contrasted black and white: There is a moment when the boy stands behind the man and could push him onto the rocks below, while the man compulsively winds in his fishing line. A moment later, in a fit of rage, the man kills the boy. The question is, did either of these scenes occur, or were they both nightmares? Bergman does not quite let us know. Do it your way!

That said, I do approach it all quite seriously even though the content of a lot of my reviews does tend towards the sarcastic and notionally comedic a lot of the time. Very few directors are this consistently excellent. Unfortunately I found the first half of Hour of the Wolf to be a bit weak, but slowly it gets more surreal, bleak and creepy with unsettling psychological twists as the mind of our main character slowly crumbles and descends into madness - the second half is amazing. Being a horror film this stands a bit out from the rest of his filmography, but here he once again demonstrates his expertise over multiple genres, and it just makes me wish he made more of it.

You think that, being stalked and senselessly bitten at - slowly eaten - is the worse thing, so intolerable, so horrible, you have to dash the boy thing's head against the rock and drown it.

The Destruction of the Artist: Hour of the Wolf | SpringerLink

And it's befitting, you know it's a just arrival, and you won't run because it's your punishment, and she's a simple country girl, she doesn't understand! Every thoughtless useless decadent self indulgent word or taunt or flippant platitude about your suffering is a small rend by a crow or worse than a crow, what he described: a man or a something which either has a beak or is wearing a mask with a beak.

Even when, as your flesh is plucked away I'd say soul…. This is the second film by Bergman I've seen that is awfully morbid. Did Bergman's fear or admiration? It is also important to note that in both this and The Seventh Seal , death is represented or foreshadowed by a pale, white face that reminds one of illness. Max Von Sydow's face was powdered before he met his demise. I wonder if there's a similar theme in Persona or any other of his works during that period, it would certainly be interesting if they do, because in the film's wikipedia page it says:.

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Due to a severe case of pneumonia, Bergman had to interrupt his work on the project. After regaining….

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Review by Sally Jane Black. It's tempting always to assume that any film focusing on an artist, photographer, or other worker of a visual medium is in fact a metaphor for the filmmaker, and generally, this interpretation probably isn't wrong. But I feel like limiting the scope of the work to the personal life of the filmmaker--which is often but not always what happens when we take this interpretation--is unfair to the film. The fact that the filmmaker chooses to put up this veil suggests an attempt at something more universal.

Johan's madness might be interpreted as Bergman's angst, but I think it fair to say that his obsessive insanities are an illustration of dark muses and troubled artists everywhere. I love cinema! Von Sydow loses his mind on an island and traumatizes his pregnant wife. Good sound design and some female nudity of the artsum fartsum variety. The poster doesn't lie. You'll see Max Von Sydow rocking crazy makeup, and it will be off-putting.

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Review by Irving. A very rough list of eccentric cerebral films - films that are consisted of many wonderful imaginative ideas and creations,….

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All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling