Saturday, January 22, 2011

uncanny "Hour"

I believe that the film “Hour of the Wolf” embodied Freud’s ideas about the uncanny. The film is constructed similar to a dream state. Freud describes the uncanny as the “class of frightening things that leads us back to what is known” and he uses the term “unheimlich” to describe this realm of abnormal experience and fear. The narrative in “Hour of the Wolf” is always moving around from one scene to a flashback to a bizarre dinner party and then back to Alma telling her story about her husband’s disappearance. This structure can be confusing to the audience at times but it also reminds them that they are outside of their everyday experience. Also, Johan’s flashbacks about the boy at the beach could be interpreted as some sort of repressed childhood memory. Freud also believed that the return of repressed childhood memories was a part of “unheimlich.” The return of repressed memories also brings about old childhood fears. I think this idea is embodied in the title of the film. In about the middle of the movie, Johan is telling Alma about the “hour of the wolf” and how it is the most frightening time of the night. To me this is the epitome of a childhood ghost story. But, this grown man is ultimately consumed by his fears.

1 comment:

  1. I think that you are pretty spot on with you analysis of the "hour of the wolf" and its relationship to Freud's notion of the uncanny. This movie absolutely played with the idea of "unheimlich" and instilled a level of anxiety and anticipation that only increased the creepiness of the movie. It seemed as though there is a disconnect between each scene that leaves the audience only more confused and anxious about what may happen next. I think perhaps the most effective method of the film was the lack of any real climax; leaving the audience exhausted from anxiety that is never satisfied by a cathartic experience.