The Company of Wolves (1984)
Directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Angela Lansbury, Sarah Patterson
A strange fantasy film that contains stories within dreams within stories and enough symbolism and feminist subtext to keep Freud happy for a long time.
Based on several short stories written by Angela Carter with a beginning and end set in a form of reality, fairytales dominate the majority of the film, adapted and given a feminist makeover, probably making them far truer to their original roots and intentions. The majority of the film is set within this dream world; a fantasy fairytale world of creepy cottages and mysterious forests, all created beautifully especially considering the small budget.
Beyond this world are the tales told by a Grandmother warning of the dangers of wolves (as a representation of the bestial side of man), each set in similar though different villages. The grand daughter, around 13 years old is obviously going through the changes of puberty and is becoming aware of her own sexuality, these tales are meant to warn her off but they almost certainly have the opposite effect. Eventually the viewer is lead into a rewritten Little Red Riding Hood with all its connotations and the girl proves more than able to decide which path she will follow.
What can you say, at times the symbolism is obvious but at other times, it is so subtle as to give the viewer plenty of food for thought. The acting is very good from the main cast and fairs from average to very good for the secondary players. The design work is excellent, from the village to the forest through to the pre cgi transformations from man to wolf.
A film that opens itself up to a number of interpretations created with the care to attention and detail it deserves and an adaptation that Angela Carter herself was more than happy with.
Id love to know if anyone else has seen it especially A? It certainly gets my recommendation and takes me back to a time when the UK was producing some wonderful individualistic and artistic work like The Company of Wolves, The Draughtsman's Contract and "Excalibur."
BBFC rated 18 (I dont understand why, I would have thought 15 would have been fine.)
R2 Pal dvd released by Granada ventures. R1 ntsc dvd released by Hens tooth Video.