The Mouth of the Wolf (Italy, 2009, Pietro Marcello)
William James differentiated the tough-minded and the tender-minded in philosophy and I guess with respect to cinema, what the latter would praise as impressionistic and poetic, the former would criticize as a lack of narrative structure and coherent theme. I am not prepared to take a stand either way when it comes to The Mouth of the Wolf. I abstain from voting because I can't make out in the first place the extent to which the film is a documentary and the degree to which it is a fiction. The more it strikes me as a documentary, the more inclined I feel to be tough-minded towards it and irritated accordingly. Conversely, there is so much about the film that so intentionally out-of-time, sort of magic realism except without any supernatural overtones, the tender-minded side of me appreciates this as a way to tell the truth through fiction. All I can say for sure is that The Mouth of the Wolf tells a very unusual yet remarkably sweet love story in a very minimalist and indirect way. The novelty of this would probably not be enough to recommend the film but for the often beautiful cinematography. Many of the contemporary images are captivating and the archival footage depicting the setting in days gone by contributes significantly to the somewhat enchanted atemporal sensibility of which I have spoken. In short, the fim is conceptually vague in the extreme but the way it shimers visually, you can't take your eye off of it.