Time of the Wolf (2003)

108.

★★★★★

Directed by: Michael Haneke
Written by: Michael Haneke
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Anaïs Demoustier and Béatrice Dalle

After their success with The Pianist, director Michael Haneke and award-winning actress Isabelle Huppert reunited in the harrowing and bleak Time of the Wolf. In the opening scene, Anna (Huppert) and her family are shocked to find a hungry family living in their weekend home, armed with a gun and no intentions to leave. When Anna’s husband tries to negotiate with them, Anna and her children soon realize mercy and compassion are luxuries, and they too will have to fight for their survival in the barren French countryside where disease, death, and a decayed social order rule. Such a desperate situation is given no precise location or back-story in Haneke’s Time of the Wolf, and in a sense, there is no need to figure these details out. What is most pressing and engaging is the study of human behavior that we see in the aftermath of the unknown apocalypse. With riveting performances and soul-grinding circumstances, Time of the Wolf combines masterful visual direction with a  story that is deeply compelling on a humanist level.

Helping fellow survivors, Anna and her two children cling to compassion.

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