Sunday, 10 October 2010


Director : Neil Jordan
Producer:  Chirs Brown
Writer: Angela Carter
Year: 1984
Cast: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Micha Bergese, Tusse Silberg

The Company of Wolves follows a young girl’s dream called Rosaleen. It’s basically a gothic, feminist  retelling of ‘The Little Red Ridding Hood’, a story of innocence being threatened by some werewolf's beastly, sexual appetites.  "The Company of Wolves is mature and dark. The sexual and womanly innuendos suggested by the Little Red Riding Hood tale are all here; from wolves and their ‘call of nature’ to Rosaleen’s first discovery of a mirror, lipstick, and eggs that hatch into baby dolls. Is Little Red Riding Hood merely a tale warning one not to talk to strangers or stray from the trusted and safe path- or is it a darker analysis of the predatory nature of man’s carnal desires for girls as they menstruate and grow into womanhood? The Company of Wolves critiques both views and delivers a kinky, satisfying blend of alluring werewolf men along with shuddering beastly horror. The ages of the cast also lend a pedophile bend on some scenes, and though everyone mocks Granny and her ‘old wives tales’- it turns out some of her methods are the word of the wise." The girl is going through puberty and is slowly transforming into a woman. The film explores female empowerment and sexuality and is some sort of warning for young girls to not succumb to their desires driven by handsome men. The dream takes place in a fairytale forest,where she lives with her family, which is dark and full of mysteriousness and surrealism. The whole scenery seems to be inspired by fairytale illustrations.Someday her sister gets killed by wolves and while her parents mourn  she moves to live with her superstitious grandmother. Grandmother's role as the narrator is very important to the story as she is the one telling the little fairytales in between the film and somehow is Rosaleen's protector and leader. She is the one who warns her and frightens her through her superstitions about werewolves and symbolises them as male power looking for their vulnerable pray.  The stories involve young women being tricked by handsome men and gives her a warning: to beware of men whose eyebrows meet, as that means they are hairy from the inside too.

          Grandmother knits her a red cape which indicates the link with the original fairytale.

 When she returns to the village she meets with a village boy and takes a walk with him in the woods where they discover that a catle has been attacked by a wolves. The villagers then set out to find the wolf and kill it, and when they did, it magically transformed into a mans body. 
      Later as Rosaleen walks through the woods and heads to her grandmothers house with a  basket full of goods where she meets a handsome huntsman.                                        

 The sexual imagery is obvious in this scene where the huntsman tries to approach the young girl. I must admit I felt a bit of a shiver at this point as it indicates a paedophile's monstrous and dirty mind. He then challenges her that he'll make it first to the house. When Rosaleen finally arrives at the cottage she finds there the huntsman who had shattered her grandma into pieces who was meant to be a porcelain doll strangely enough. Rosaleen succeeds in shooting him but instead of dying he transforms into a wolf.

 The transformation although different to what we are used to looked very painful as an actual   wolf emerged from his body and through his mouth.

Rosaleen takes pity of the beast and starts to pat him. When the villagers turned up to save her they found a wolf instead of her. She then disappears in the forest along with the rest of the wolves and chooses the huntsman ( now wolf) as her mate.

The mini stories told through the film also had a big symbolism to the film.The first one was told by grandma to her granddaughter and was about a young groom who was about  to bed his wife. But nature calls him and he runs outside where he vanishes. After years she gets remarried and has children. She becomes a baby machine and hard working housewife who's trying to please her husband regardless the circumstances. This can be detected as a symbolism that marriage does not guarantee you a happy life, but can lead you to slavery if you don't make the decision to marry a sensible man that understands your needs and strengths.  He the appears out of the blue and gets mad she got married to a different man. His urges come out and he transforms into a wolf.

The transformation in this part was a lot more repulsive as the man ripped apart his own skins and his bone structure along with his muscles gradually transformed him into a wolf.

 Thankfully the new husband appears and kills the beast.

The second story is also told by grandma where a young man walks through the woods and meets the devil who offers him a potion which transforms him against his own will. Granny warns Rosaleen she should avoid naked men in the woods as they hide the devil himself hides in them. She basically means the werewolves who need to be naked to change into wolves."The wolf is sexuality incarnate, a walking appetite, unable to suppress his desires. The wolves are described as "mourn[ing] for their own irremediable appetites" (648), but redemption is impossible, because this desire cannot be controlled. In order for a werewolf to transform, he must first be naked, so "[i]f you spy a naked man among the pines, you must run as if the Devil were after you" (649). This image of the transformation from naked man into lusting beast is blatantly sexual, and implies that naked men are to be feared as if sexual desire were beastly."
The third one is told by Rosaleen to her mother.

A woman 'done a terrible wrong' by a rich man and turns up to his wedding festival where he magically transforms all the guests into wolves..The sorceress then commands that the wolves serenade her and her child each night. this scene turned out quite humorous than scary to me.

The last one is about a wounded she-wolf who reveals herself to a priest in her human form. He bandages her and she goes back to the forest.

I enjoyed the film in general but was a bit confused when being surrounded by so many symbolisms. My emotions about this film are a bit mixed up. I felt enchanted by the magical atmosphere of the whole film but simultaneously disgusted by what sexual appetites can lead to.  


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