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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Vargtimmen (aka Hour Of The Wolf) (1968)

On an isolated island, the wife (Liv Ullmann) of an artist (Max Von Sydow) gone missing relates the events that lead up to his disappearance. Still one of Ingmar Bergman's lesser films but riveting nevertheless. It's about as close as he's ever gotten to making a horror film. In fact, HOUR OF THE WOLF is often referred to as Bergman's "horror" film and I suppose it is in a generic way. It's one of Bergman's surrealistic films where we're never sure if we're supposed to take things literally or are they figments of the artist's tortured psyche. At the end, the wife questions this also which gives a slight weight that perhaps they weren't entirely the artist's visions or perhaps the wife is beginning to go mad too. As usual, Bergman's actors are impeccable and his close ups lets us read their faces. The film has some startling images that rank with the best of Bergman like the old lady literally tearing her face apart or the chilling murder of the young boy by the seaside. With the great Ingrid Thulin and Erland Josephson.

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