Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Company of Wolves (1984)

This movie directed by Neil Jordon is basically a reimaged version of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. A granny tells her granddaughter wired stories about hairy men who are really wolves inside.  All these stories (and the whole movie in fact) have got a strange not very subtle Freudian psychosexual undertone. The movie is set mainly inside the dream of a young girl so the movie is very surreal and not grounded in reality. Because of this we see a lot of impressive visuals and set pieces. My favourite is the scene when the main characters older sister is running from wolves in the forest. We see lots of weird things like giant dolls and teddies that are extremely creepy, it reminded me of a Salvador DalĂ­ or Rene Magritte surrealist painting. There is also some very impressive practical effects including a very original take on the werewolf transformation scene. We literally see the wolf emerge from inside the man through his mouth.

To be honest I didn’t really like the films psychosexual undertones but I didn’t really know why. I wasn’t against the idea in principle I just wasn’t a fan of the unsubtle way it was handled. Luckily not long after watching this movie I just happened to watch an interview with Guillermo Del Toro the director of Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) who addressed the subject of the psychosexual aspects of fairy tells. He said, “They seem to have an agenda, they need to prove something, they need to prove a point.” referring to people who look for the Freudian aspects of fairytales (you can find this interview in the special features of the blu-ray for Pan’s Labyrinth). This I think is basically what my problem with the movie was I felt they were trying to hard to show the Freudian aspects of the Red Riding Hood fairytale, as appose to letting ideas come naturally (if that makes any sense).
To be fair I think this is probably a movie you need to see more than once to really understand and appreciate it. I think a lot of the more surreal types of movies are like that. I remember the first time I saw Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) I didn’t like it at all but now is one of my favourite movies. 

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