Hour of the Wolf

Sweden 1968 Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 90 min. DCP

Dates and Venue 6 - 10 Jul 2018 | Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This year marks the 100th birth anniversary of Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007), and The Cinémathèque celebrates a retrospective of Ingmar films until August 22. He stands out as one of the pioneers of art-house cinema (vs. Hollywood commercial movies), which include his predecessors Griffith, Eisenstein, Buñuel, Dali and later on Fellini and the French wave.

I first thought, from the title, that this would be one of those typical horror films about vampires and werewolves, but as the film progressed, the main character, painter Johan Borg (Max von Sydow) tells his young wife Alma (Liv Ullmann) of the "vargtimmen" ("Hour of the Wolf"), the hour before dawn, where most births and deaths occur.

This is an extraordinary film. I was a young man in the 1960s when I got exposed to Bergman´s films, and that decade, I remember, was memorable: the Beatles, Vietnam war, Beatniks, Pollock. It was a decade of experimenation in film and theatre, and I myself was doing experimental theatre in Greek and Shakesperean drama.

Go see this enigmatic film. It will hold your interest from beginning to end.


The Rite

Sweden 1969 Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 72 min. 35mm

Dates and Venue 8 - 10 Jul 2018 | Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This is one of two films (the other one, "Torment") which The Cinematheque is screening from existing 35mm prints. I still remember this format watching films in the fifties.

This particular film is described as a "psychosexual chamber drama" which was originally made for Swedish TV. This is one of Bergman´s innovative period films, and it´s about a trio of actors — husband (Gunnar Björnstrand), wife (Ingrid Thulin), and wife’s lover (Anders Ek) — called up before a magistrate (played by the appropriately named Erik Hell) on charges of obscenity. Their examination becomes a cruel, sadistic inquisition, and culminates in a chilling re-creation of “The Rite,” their allegedly pornographic play.

Whether it was Bergman who influenced a lot of SM films, including the popular recently shown film Shades of Grey, this film is indeed a fascinating example of what sado-masochism is all about.

© 2018 Ed Farolan


Don't Look Now

USA 1974 Dir. Nicolas Roeg 110 min.

Dates and Venue 17 Feb - 4 Mar 2018 | Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Christian Steckler

The Cinematheque continues its quest to provide the best examples of cinematic excellence to Vancouver audiences in an exciting collection of Nicolas Roeg’s films, aptly titled “Out There”. Roeg has been quoted as saying that a film is merely an expression of a film maker’s thought, wondering if anyone is “out there” understanding those thoughts. This fine sampling of the controversial director’s works aligns the visionary cinematographer-cum-director’s work with a generation of audiences ready to credit it for the genius that went under-recognized at the time that he made these films from the 1970s to the 90s. The “Out There” series runs from February 17 to March 4, with repeated screenings of all the films for the viewer’s convenience.

Opening night featured the first showing of Don’t Look Now, a spellbinding story of grief’s unfolding, mixing clairvoyance, wishful thinking and denial, and the actions that emanate from waves of their interaction. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland are rebuilding their lives after the death of their daughter. Sutherland’s work takes them to Venice, an apt setting for the fluidity, shadow, and winding nature of their experiences as the story progresses. A chance meeting with a blind clairvoyant and her companion triggers the action of the story, as the couple strive to move on with their lives while being haunted by visions of their daughter in their routines about the city.

Don’t Look Now is a banquet of cinematic finery. The clarity, texture and symbolism in the cinematography is breathtaking, making it a visual feast. The acting sweeps the audience into the lives of the couple effortlessly, though, in this reviewers opinion, the happiness and understanding within the marriage is more ideal than real. Roeg’s direction, including visuals, editing, and scene action, transport the audience easily through scenes shifting in time: memories, the present, and glimpses into the future. This is a hallmark of Roeg’s genius.

Nicolas Roeg will be ninety years old this year. His has been a talent before its time - ironic, or, perhaps, fitting - in that he explores perceptions of time in all of his films. Cinematheque’s generous collection of his work is a tribute to his genius in communicating psychosis, spiritual culture, psychedelic experience, emotional range, eroticism, and mystery in cinematic art. Check out the program at, and take in as much of this feast as you can.

© 2018 Christian Steckler