The Wolf House
La casa lobo
ALT | PIXL
A secretive German settlement that thrived during Pinochet’s reign of terror in Chile, the real-life Colonia Dignidad hid plenty of unsavoury secrets beneath the guise of a wholesome community. The animated The Wolf House doesn’t tackle the horrors inside the colony head on but uses them as a launching pad for a surrealistic fairytale in which the Brothers Grimm meet David Lynch.
The story follows María, a teen who runs away to avoid impending punishment. With a wolf hot on her heels, the girl finds shelter in a house that changes shape at will. The place seems abandoned, except for some pigs that Maria believes she can mould into children, a decision she soon comes to regret. That the film goes on to suggest the fairytale is a tool created by the higher-ups at Colonia Dignidad to prevent children from escaping adds an extra layer of horror to the proceedings.
Using a combination of 2D and stop-motion animation, Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León’s remarkable, constantly morphing film conjures nightmarish scenarios out of papier-mâché. Despite the unsettling imagery, the compositions are mesmerizing, and the ingenuity on display is a dark delight.
"Fascinating… Entrance[s] and enchant[s]… Reminiscent of an Eraserhead-style Lynchian nightmare turned into sculpture, paintings and stop-motion."—Sarah Ward, Screen
Caligari Film Prize: Best Film, Forum, Berlin 18
Preceded By: Carlotta's FaceDirector: Valentin Riedl, Frédéric Schuld / Germany, 2018, 5 min.
Afflicted with a rare condition, Carlotta sees someone different in the mirror each day because she cannot remember peoples faces—even her own.