When a young boy, Jacob, is sent to an asylum for believing he is part wolf, he and fellow patients must repress their animal instincts.
In Nathalie Biancheri’s sophomore feature, George MacKay’s Wolf encounters Lily-Rose Depp’s Wildcat in a radical behavioural reform institute.
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A young man named Jacob (1917’s George MacKay) arrives at a treatment centre specializing in “species dysphoria.” He believes he is a wolf, trapped in a human body, and his family cannot cope with him. The radical treatments of Dr. Mann (Paddy Considine) will teach Jacob to be a human again — whether he likes it or not. Is Nathalie Biancheri’s first feature a bold allegory for people forced to endure the horrors conversion therapy, or a modern fable about the dangers of embracing our animalistic impulses? It’s almost certainly the first thing, and there’s no question where Biancheri’s sympathies stand — especially once we see what Dr. Mann’s so-called therapies are doing to his other patients, like Wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp) and Parrot (Lola Petticrew). Wolf premiered at TIFF 2021 but saw its theatrical run curtailed in the Omicron winter; as TIFF 2022 approaches, it might be advisable to revisit this singular work, and see what it has to tell us.
Content advisory: nudity, violence, sexual situations, coarse language