The Company of Wolves

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

company of wolves

Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves is one of my favourite films, and whenever I admit this I get strange looks. It is not an easy film to like because it is so blatantly symbolic and esoteric. I do wish the silly reviews I've read about this film would stop focusing on the "special effects", and how they are outdated for today (the film was made in the 1980s). This is hardly the most interesting aspect of the film and I personally think it is one of the most visually striking films I have ever seen. It has the same opaque quality of dreams, where you can't really trust what you are seeing and where everything seems to be filtered by a haze and a plethora of symbols.

The film is based on two short stories by Angela Carter, which she originally published in 1979 as part of a collection of rewritings of traditional fairy tales: "The Company of Wolves" and "Wolf-Alice". If you have never read Carter's short stories, you have done yourself a great disservice. Some of my most enjoyable reading hours have been spent with her words, curled up in bed. Jordan and Carter wrote the screenplay for this film one afternoon, in his kitchen. I rather like that story.

The film is also an adaptation of Perrault's original "Little Red Riding Hood", which was not a fairy tale for children, but a courtly and aristocratic cautionary tale for young women. What I love about this film is that it says all the things Perrault's fairy tale does not. It does not do for little red riding hood (here, renamed Rosaleen by Jordan) to be a passive little lamb, a thing of consumption and enjoyment for somebody else. She wants to run with the wolves. It does not do for the big bad wolf (here turned into a charming werewolf) to be so bad. The wolf is tender, he cries, he whimpers, he is lonely. In Jordan's world, a witch is a betrayed woman and a handsome aristocrat is a cheating cad. Things are never as they seem, and that is precisely the point.

Has anyone seen this film? It seems to elicit such conflicting opinions, I'd love to hear from anyone who has seen it.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never seen this, but now after your lovely review - I will :)/dominika

Deleilan said...

I haven't seen it yet... It sounds like exactly the kind of film that would capture my imagination. Thank you for telling us about it, and for recommending Angela Carter's stories.

St├ęphanie said...

I never seen this film ...

Taru Tuomi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosey said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I have neve r heard of this movie but it's my type of thing so will try to get my hands on a copy :)

Make it Easy said...

it looks kind of scary! haha

Anonymous said...

ok, I have seen it ;) and I have ti say it's really beautiful and scary also, but in the middle it started to be kind of boring... sorry/dominika

Des said...

This looks outstanding. If you recommend it then I will definitely have to see it.

Rina said...

I want to see this movie now! what a beautiful and deep images and aesthetics, It reminds me the work of Kiki Smith that maybe I told you about this amazing artist, she works this kind of themes, magic, women, wolves, female mistery, It´s very interesting...

Mary-Laure said...

I haven't seen it but this post makes me want to. It looks beautiful and intelligent. And a bit creepy too, in a Gothic way.

Mila said...

wow, this looks and sounds so very interesting Hila!
thanks for recommending, i'll definitely be looking out for it...

<3
Mila.

Hila said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments everyone!

dominika: oh well, we can't all love the same films :)

Rina: yes you did tell me about her before, thanks!

Mary-Laure: gothic is a perfect way to describe it, and I personally think it's a very intelligent film.

Valkrye said...

Hello, Although my comment is a bit after your posting, just wanted to say I have seen the film and a number of times , as well as have enjoyed ,many of Angela Carter's books. Like you, I think the film has an odd , surreal otherworldly quality to it. I have not read any reviews of it, just have seen and enjoyed the film even if a bit disquieting in parts~ Very much a real fairy tale and one of the most successfully done I think.

Hila said...

yes, I totally agree - and the best thing about fairy tales is that they're often disquieting.