11/19/2019 12:18 pm
“Brotherhood of the wolf” also known as “La Fraternité du Loup or Le Pacte des Loups” is a film drenched in drama, sex, secret societies, monsters, action, and romance. This film’s ideology of what makes a monster depends on constructs and parameters such as western societal views of incestual lust, folklore, history, humanistic emotions, social class, religion or race and the French’s perceptions of certain animals”. Throughout the film, you follow a naturalist and his non-biological brother, sent by the king, to investigate the deaths of the locals in a small rural area of France. The higher society nobles inform them of a mysterious beast that is wreaking havoc in the land. Along their journey to uncover the “beast” the audience is enthralled with two beautiful women in opposite social circles, whose fates intertwine with the naturalist. Love, Lust, and deceit soon follow. The tale of young lovers and the hierarchy of social class looms over them, and in the shadows lurks another, who’s lusts is nothing if not sinful. With any good story, there is death and sadness, followed by rage and revenge. This film ends with multiple monsters being revealed to the audience in unexpected ways.
Throughout the film, there are subtle hints as to what or who is the beast. There are instances where characters back story and history give the viewers a peek as to what the “beast” might be. The use of body language and symbols in the character’s private domain leads into the speculation of sex and love unfolding. Specifically, in regard to the naturalist and Maryanne the blue blood daughter, who’s affection towards each other offends her birth name and social stance in the community. Their actions allow the viewers to assume an emotional roller coaster is winding up. Throw in the odd and overly needy big brother, whose eyes linger on his sister more than what is considered normal, and you have a nasty love triangle. This added to a brothel, a whore and many secrets leads to misfortunes and beasts of all different natures. I believe the filmmakers used these different levels of foreshadowing to reveal to the audience multiple layers of monsters within the story, which helps creates curiosity. This helps the viewers speculate who or what the beasts might be.
Throughout this entire film, it is clear there is a high level of racism towards anyone that is not French, especially towards the Indians. There are many scenes drenched in racial slurs, ignorance, and arrogance towards the Indians. In one scene the nobles ask Mani, the Indian if he can lay with and reproduce with white women. They not only insinuate that he as an Indian must not be human but also speculate that he would not have the equipment or capability to be intimate with another race. “All women are the same color when the lights are out” is how Mani replies to the group of upper-class French aristocrats. Another scene in the film, involves Mani, attempting to be pleased by French whores. They also so racial prejudice and ignorance. One states that she will not pleasure a sorcerer. Eventually, one woman is paid enough to pleasure a man of dark skin and “dancing snakeskin”. There are other aspects in this film where Mani is assumed to be the naturalist servant. During this time in history it was common to have valet’s or servants, and for the nobles to assume the dark-skinned companion was one is not out of context.
Throughout the film, the gender roles for women fall into two categories. You are either a whore who gets to no title and is looked upon in shame in the public eye but is sought after is entrusted with men’s secrets in the private sector. The mysterious dark-haired sorceress at the brothel is a prime example. The other facet is that a woman knows her place, be seen and not heard. She is there for amusement and to provide children for the masculine entity that she is promised to. This is true for all women other than whores, in this society. Within the social hierarchy this construct rings true. The higher in class you are the more you are worth and the more you are to behave within strict parameters. A lady is to ride a certain way, is no to be alone with men and is to abide by their mother’s wishes. They do not get to enjoy the pleasures of the world; they are to stay chase and virtuous until their family finds a suitor of status equal to or above their own. This is a double standard within the female gender throughout history and this film. This portrayal follows the norms of society especially for the time and places this film is set in. Sadly, much of what is portrayed is still expected of women in the modern world. Women are held to obtuse standards when it comes to sexuality, strength, and empowerment. Thankfully these constructs of how a woman is expected to act and what they do are making progress. There are no ethical issues in this portrayal of gender and racism due to how accurately they are representing the dynamics of that time period, in the film.
I do not feel that the way in which they represent women, or the Indians is right. However, for the film to convey what was then the social truths and expectations of the time, I think it helped pull the audience in, as well as enlighten them on what it was like then. These constructs are replicated over and over throughout history, and even now, there are implications of ignorance and false expectations of gender and racial beliefs. The students and faculty at this university can all relate to the main constructs that are implicated and referenced in this film. Many can attest to being victims of these issues or know of someone close to them that have. Racism and gender inequality and expectations have not been eradicated. Most of the time it is quietly dealt with and is silence. Fortunately, times are changing, and the world is slowly becoming a better place for all genders and races. Every person counts, regardless of what is between their legs or the shades that grace their skin.
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