What does the title of your film refer to?
It's taken from Codex Regius, the most ancient Germanic poem, and more precisely from "Song of the Sightseer," which describes the time before the "Ragnarok," the end of the world.
What is troubling in TIME OF THE WOLF is that the narrative material makes one think of science fiction, yet the film doesn't resemble that genre at all. Any similarity to "fantasy" anything that is futurist, is absent. What remains is the "here an now" the pure present.
I think in our society, everyone has thought at one time or another about the big catastrophe. For this, there's no need to watch television every day. Whether it be about a war, a terrorist act, an ecological or cosmic catastrophe doesn't change much. That's not important. The only productive question can only be: "What will be my reaction, and that of my neighbor?" What will we do when faced with such a fundamental change? How thick is the veneer of our civilization? To what point will our, "eternal values" be able to hold on? How will we behave with one another is such a case? That's what I tried to tackle in TIME OF THE WOLF. I wanted to make a film clear of spectacular aspects of the "catastrophe movie" genre.
The extreme existential situation is a recurring motive in your films. You always treat situations as if they were everyday, evident, banal.
When extreme situations are shown in cinema, one can fall quickly in the trap of exaggeration. This exaggeration leads to implausibility. This renders the catastrophe consumable. That's what is to be avoided. This means the filmmaker has to reflect very precisely on the narrative means he uses to base the plausibility of his story. This means that everything which goes beyond the audience's experience incites rapid consideration of the story as simple entertainment and distancing themselves from the film. The safest way to avoid this is precision.
TIME OF THE WOLF is not linked o any specific place or time. Is it a film about Europe? Or is even this left uncertain?
That question never entered my mind. I wanted this situation to be played out in a familiar environmentómine an that of the spectatorsóto heighten the potential of identification. I agree this model situation would manifest itself in a different way in another climatic or social situation. Like all my films, this story speaks of our hyper-industrialized world, of the superfluous society, and thus of those people who were able to settle comfortably in the conveniences of our world. I can only tell precise things about the above, because that's the domain of my own experience, the experience which I have in common with the large majority of the cinema-going public. Everything that goes beyond this context would fall rather in the domain of exoticism. But for me, those affected by the film are anyone who wants to be.
A very simple question: does you film have a social concern?
I don't have a message to send out, nor a formula for resolving the problem presented. This film is not didactic. It's an attempt to transpose things I have observed and to play with the dramatic possibilities of the question posed. If you see social concern as an attempt to perceive the other as a "you" to be taken seriously, then that doesn't bother me. But I hope that the situations represented are complex enough so as not to be reduced to a cliche.
Interviewed by Stefan Gressemann
Dont't forget to also check out: Time of the Wolf