I thought that today I would write about one of my favourite films, The Company Of Wolves. I’m the only person I know who’s actually seen this film, let alone loved it, so it’s nice to be able to share my enthusiasm for this rich little gem.
Why do I love this film? Well, let’s start at the very beginning. I adore it when a movie’s title is open to interpretation and could be taken in any number of differing ways. Is this about wolves in various guises as companions, whether literal or metaphorical, or are they merely playing a role in some elaborate scenario in our personal fabrication of reality? As it turns out, both. This flick is BIG on the symbolism and the worst wolves are, to quote, “hairy on the inside.”
Secondly, and let’s not beat about the bush ( pun entirely intentional ) the movie is positively dripping dark gothic sexuality. Not that is has any sex scenes per se ( though there is the least erotic lovemaking scene between the heroine, Rosaleen’s, parents at one point ), but it’s a Freudian orgy. Sensuality swamps practically every scene, and though it has been known for me to over-analyse a tad 😉 it’s hard to resist the urge to intermittently shout out “ooh, lipstick as a labia metaphor!” or “That tree has a phallus!” ( which is why I stopped watching films with my parents decades ago… I think I was embarrassing them.)
Like the much later “Ginger Snaps” lycanthropy is pretty much a metaphor for sexual awakening, however, here the nature of the beast is firmly rooted in seduction. Even the walks in the mist-shrouded forests bring a quickening of the pulse that can’t always be attributed to unease.
Possibly my fascination for this collection of stories within a story comes from seeing it for the first time when sexuality was foremost in my own mind. That said, it is classified as a horror movie and has a couple of impressive wolf transformations that haven’t aged too badly, though they distracted me from my preferred focus of the gothic ambience. In my world Beauty and the Beast wouldn’t have been totally ruined by the Beast becoming yet another bland Prince, and the happy couple would have embraced their attraction and maybe popped out a few puppies or something. But then I would have preferred Beauty to have not been put off by her beau having a bit of extra fur on him. Likewise, when the wronged ‘witch’ in one of the tales exposes the vile aristocracy for the savage beasts they truly are, and thereby commanding the respect she deserved, then I, for one, cheered her on.
If I were to have one criticism it would be this : the movie is often interpreted as having a feminist bias, with the men all being portrayed as beasts in disguise, cruel brutes, or seducers. Whilst I can see why a confused and blossoming pubescent girl may see things this way it’s only balanced by a quote from Rosaleen’s mother that goes, “It there’s a beast in men it meets it’s match in women too.”
Have a dig round and have a watch if you like your films with more than just a thin veneer of quirky 🙂