Siren Competition, Méliès d’Argent
Adrian Panek // 2018 // Poland, Netherlands, Germany // Historical Horror, Drama // 88 min // Balapolis
Cast: Kamil Polnisiak, Nicolas Przygoda, Sonia Mietielica, Danuta Stenka, Jakub Syska, Helena Mazur
Language: Polish // English subtitles
The historical wounds of World War II and its numerous atrocities are visible in almost every frame of Werewolf. Set in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the Gross–Rosen concentration camp, Adrian Panek’s sophomore feature focuses on eight child survivors who the Red Army shelters in an abandoned orphanage nestled deep in a still-occupied Polish forest.
As the Nazzi regime is on its last legs, the children have to stave off hunger, contend with stray soldiers roaming the woods and a pack of vicious attack dogs – former SS wolfhounds set lose by the guards. Can they band together and beat insurmountable odds or will years of neglect wreak havoc and cause the children to turn on each other?
Powerfully acted and emotionally resonant, Werewolf is a bleak fairy tale that grapples with trauma – a story of cruel treatment that bred cruel behavior and of feral children who have to learn how to break free from a destructive, ‘dog-eat-dog’ survival instinct in order to regain their humanity. Werewolf is a harrowing tale told with hope.
Text: Tom Kiesecoms