The delicate, dangerous line between genius and insanity is brilliantly plumbed in this haunting film from Ingmar Bergman that’s “a dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism and full-blooded Gothic horror” (The Observer). Haunted by demons past and present, artist Johan Borg (Max von Sydow) fights a losing battle to retain his sanity and maintain his artistic prowess. His wife Alma (Liv Ullmann), desperate to help him, finds herself starting to share his hallucinations. But as Johan’s mind continues to unravel, Alma is forced to choose between her love and her life.
Hour of the Wolf originated from a manuscript with the working title “The Cannibals”. Bergman began work on it in the spring of 1965, during which time he suffered a minor nervous breakdown.In the end, the manuscript resulted in not one but two films, Persona and Hour of the Wolf. Together with the former work, Hour of the Wolf is probably one of Bergman’s most personal films, though almost all of his films have autobiographical elements. The opening and final scenes are filmed as if it were a true story about an artist who has disappeared, based on interviews with his wife and on his diaries. Bergman confirmed that he felt the story being too personal and tried to create an artistic distance by including scenes of the shooting process and discussions with the actors. Except for the credits and the opening and final shot, Bergman removed these inserts prior to release.