A scene from The Wolf House.Denver Film Festival via YouTube
Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today he spotlights a selection for November 1: The Wolf House.
The Wolf House
Directed by Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León
9:45 p.m. Thursday, November 1; 11:55 p.m. Friday, November 2; and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, November 3
"This film is really hard to describe," admits Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey. "But it's the perfect festival film — the sort of thing you'll only see at a film festival."
Here's The Wolf House's trailer.
The Wolf House "is a Chilean film that's animated in a variety of styles, and visually, it's one of the most stunning things I've seen all year," he says. "It has some things in common with the work of Jan Švankmajer, a Czech animator who mostly does stop-motion. But this uses stop-motion animation with puppetry and clay in a way that's fascinating to watch."
According to Withey, "The plot is based on a Chilean fable. It's about a girl who's been banished from her home and is being chased by a wolf. She runs into this small cabin where she's living, and inside, she finds two pigs that she adopts and basically turns into children. They're sort of half-human/half-pig and they all live together — and the wolf sort of moves around the house and haunts them."
In some ways, he acknowledges, "the story is almost secondary to the film, which is kind of odd to say. But what's most remarkable about it are the visuals. There's a combination of puppetry and little handmade things that are moving, and painting and chalk drawing, and it all works together seamlessly. It's crazy and beautiful."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.