Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Lilith Stangenberg in Wild - an anarchist young woman breaks the tacit contract with civilisation and fearlessly decides on a life without hypocrisy or an obligatory safety net.
"The phrase 'brave performance' is vastly overused but there's no doubt Stangenberg puts herself at some risk here." | Photo: Reinhold Vorschneider

Rooted in the same type of psychosexual myths that inspired Angela Carter's The Company Of Wolves, Nicolette Krebitz goes feral for her story of a young woman who undergoes a sort of reverse domestication courtesy of a wolf. Far from being the florid fantasy that might suggest, however, Krebitz anchors her tale firmly in the real world and applies a strict austerity that accentuates its compelling weirdness.

Ania (Lilith Stangenberg) lives a largely anonymous existence in a high-rise flat block that is permanently under a slate grey sky. A Skype call with her sister reveals that she isn't totally isolated, although there are immediate signs of psychological stress - from her sister's careless attitude towards her to her grandfather's hospitalisation. At work, she's little more than a cog in a wheel, working in a bleak office space under the watchful and borderline hungry eye of her boss Boris (Georg Friedrich). But things are about to change. Walking home across a patch of wasteland-cum-woodland she comes face to face with a wolf. Intrigued, she returns the next day with a slab of steak - the first baby step towards what will soon become a full-blown and quite possibly life-threatening obsession.

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As she continues to attract the workplace predator's attentions, she finds herself increasingly drawn to the real deal, hatching an elaborate plot to take the animal home. Ania is simply a woman on the verge and the wolf represents a prowling paradox - embodying freedom and danger, while also trapping her within her own home, inspiring a lust for life or, quite possibly, death.

The wolf is not simply the animal version of something that is masculine - although the psychosexual tensions mount - it stands for a rejection of the civilised and an embrace of instinct, which will see Ania cast off virtually all societal restrictions by the end of the film. The phrase 'brave performance' is vastly overused but there's no doubt Stangenberg puts herself at some risk here with her animal co-stars (Nelson and Cossa take four-legged turns, apparently). There is no trace of fear in her performance - nor in Krebitz's take-no-prisoners approach to the material. The result is less the story of one woman than an unsettling and disturbing consideration of the feral aspects of humanity, just waiting to pounce through the cracks in acceptable behaviour.

Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2016
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A woman begins to disconnect with civilisation after an encounter with a wolf.

Director: Nicolette Krebitz

Writer: Nicolette Krebitz

Starring: Lilith Stangenberg, Georg Friedrich, Silke Bodenbender, Saskia Rosendahl, Pit Bukowski, Tamer Yigit, Joy Maria Bay, Kotti Yun

Year: 2016

Runtime: 97 minutes

Country: Germany

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