3.4 stars. Bergman's 'Juliet of the Spirits'. Would make for an exceptional radio drama or walking simulator. Indeed, the plot of mental disintegration upon an island which welds geographical landscape to psychological terrain, reminded me greatly of 'Dear Esther'. As a film however I'm not convinced that Bergman's austere monochrome is well suited to baroque, even flamboyant horror. Surely influenced Lars von Trier.
HOUR OF THE WOLF is Ingmar Bergman's effort to make a horror movie. The result is beyond everything. It's a different horror movie. It isn't just merely frightening. HOUR OF THE WOLF adds philosophical and existential themes in its storyline. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann succeed to give a wonderful performance. Not to mention, Sven Nykvist's cinematography is able to make this movie more frightening...
Somewhat atypical Bergman with the dream-state horror motifs and devices working well (to a point) underscoring the fear & paranoia. The true 'horror' isn't so much the surface detail but within the tumultuous internalised emotions erupting forth when self, desire, guilt or need for solitude is compromised. Where the motifs grate somewhat is in the sheer stew of them, from gothic to surrealism and points in between.
I added an extra star for Liv's performance. She had the sweetness and caring of a much younger woman. The movie seemed like a meditation on a horror film rather than an actual horror film. You get that distance from the way it kept pulling away from the emotion and back into Max's confused mind.
Film d'une désespérance totale, d'une noirceur inouie où même l'art (ici la peinture) n'a plus de fonction d'exutoire, de décantation du subconscient. L'artiste meurt d'un excès de solitude et d'incommunicabilité. A voir absolument (et qu'on ne parle pas de cinéma élitiste, comme certains enragés du bis) www.cinefiches.com