"The Wolves": A Story with Heart and Soul

in 33rd Torino Film Festival

by Luca Pellegrini

The Wolves (Les loups) by Canadian director Sophie Deraspe — who in 2010 won the Special Jury Prize in Turin with the film Vital Signs (Les signes vitaux) — is a clear and true journey to an isolated island, a rather unknown territory: the Grand Entrée Island in the North Atlantic, belonging to Quebec and inhabited by a community of fishermen and hunters, as cold and rude as the nature that preserves their pride and lonely existence.

In such a difficult land appears Elie, a fragile female figure, arriving from an opposite world, Monteral, dazed by such a powerful nature and scared by an undeniable hostility. It does not look as a place for a retreat, for a time off, for which she seems to have a desperate need. She would like to make sense of its past and its present. She remains enchanted by nature’s beauty that surrounds her, but stunned before the inhabitants’ aggression. But she decides, however, to move back, because the reasons that led her to face a place so inhospitable are stronger than the fear and her ostensible weakness.

There are wolves who hunt seals, on that island windswept and always surrounds by the sea’s noise. Men whose community is regulated by ancient customs and rules, where harmony with nature is not pleasant. The man is the wolf who defends his territory, moving in packs. Elie is a possible prey, a foreign body, of whom you don’t know both the origin and the reasons that led her in such a place.

The Wolves plays on feelings of ambivalence and the precise definition of roles, creating opposites that eventually blend in a tender embrace and unforgettable ending, when Elie -Evelyne Brochu a great protagonist, surrounded by professional actors and non-professional actors – finally discovers her origin. Sophie Deraspe draws human and environmental relationships with great dramatic strength, converting the apparent, icy metaphor in a warm, intense family drama, without forcing but with a pure and emotional sensitivity.

Edited by Michael Pattison