Close Up

19 March 2016: Take Two: Hour of the Wolf / Rosemary's Baby

Johan: This hour is the worst. Do you know what it's called?
Alma: No.
Johan: The old folks called it "the hour of the wolf". It's the hour when most people die, when most children are born. Now is when nightmares come to us.

Hour of the Wolf
Ingmar Bergman
1968 | 84 min | B/W | Digital

"Originating from a script entitled The Cannibals, Hour of the Wolf is the first of three films featuring Max von Sydow as Bergman’s alter ego, the artist in retreat to an island (Faro, the director’s own home) where all his demons and imagined monsters can come out to play, threatening to possess their creator and “disappear” him into the darkness behind the brain.  A strikingly Gothic tale of horror, Hour of the Wolf owes much to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in its evocation of the artist’s admirer’s and tormentors as vampires, flocks of flesh-eating birds and insects.  A puppet show of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, staged after dinner in a sinister castle, counters the artist’s descent into night-time madness with a quest that ends in light and joy." –Film Society Lincoln Center

Rosemary's Baby
Roman Polanski
1968 | 131 min | Colour | DCP

"Mia Farrow plays a Manhattan housewife who suspects she has been impregnated by the devil himself. Ambiguity and paranoia permeate the film, leaving audiences to wonder until the end whether Rosemary is truly the victim of a witches’ conspiracy. Polanski employs precision camera work and deliberate pacing to chronicle Rosemary’s emotional and physical deterioration, opening up a series of radical discourses that previewed the feminist debates of the 1970s. The film elicits virtuoso performances, especially from John Cassavetes as the ambitious husband and Ruth Gordon as the couple’s nosy neighbour." – Harvard Film Archive