Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Film Review: The Company of Wolves

The fifth film we watched from the ‘Shapeshifters’ film programme was Neil Jordan’s 1984 film ‘The Company of Wolves’. 

This film was based upon the story 'The Company of Wolves' by Angela Carter in the collection of 'The Bloody Chamber' but there is a strong reference to the story of 'Red Riding Hood' due to the character Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) wearing a red hooded cloak and the constant mentioning of use of wolves.. If anything because Jordan has used ideas of both stories it is suggested that he intended for this film to be a fairy tale version of the story by Carter:

"The characters in Jordan's film of Angela Carter's story inhabit a magical, mysterious world of cruelty and wonder, rarely seen in cinema."

In the room of the sleeping girl at the beginning of the film, the objects present in her room appear to have a direct affect on the dream she is having which is based on the story written by Carter. It is clear she was reading a book about children's stories which could reference the Red Riding Hood input and that any other stories present in the book could account for the various stories that her Grandmother tells her. This would also account for the "magical, mysterious world of cruelty and wonder".

"...a girl's slow transformation into a woman, of sexual initiation..."

There is a lot of emphasis on sexual intentions and exploration in this most of which centre around Roaleen who is undergoing a sort of metamorphosis herself, transforming from a girl into a woman. Before the dream where most of the film takes place we can see that the young girl in the bed is wear a lot of make up which in those days was intended for use by women. This even carries on throughout the film as Rosaleen is seen wearing make up as well.  


From this film, Jordan's interpretation of metamorphosis is made clear by the fact that he envisioned the physical change to happen form within instead of from the outside which is a typical assumption:

"...beware of ‘wolves on the inside’ and traveling men-especially ones with bushy, connecting eyebrows."

Unlike the other films of this programme the transformation starts from within breaking out of the human shell that contains the beast within.

Quote sources
Quote 1 - http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/69562/the_company_of_wolves.html
Quote 2 - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087075/usercomments
Quote 3 - http://ithinkthereforeireview.blogspot.com/2009/05/company-of-wolves.html

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