Lesson to Self



Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The first fable concerning a wolf that disguises itself in a sheep’s skin is told by the 12th-century Greek rhetorician Nikephoros Basilakis in a work called Progymnasmata (rhetorical exercises). It is prefaced with the comment that ‘You can get into trouble by wearing a disguise’ and is followed by the illustrative story. ‘A wolf once decided to change his nature by changing his appearance, and thus get plenty to eat. He put on a sheepskin and accompanied the flock to the pasture. The shepherd was fooled by the disguise. When night fell, the shepherd shut up the wolf in the fold with the rest of the sheep and as the fence was placed across the entrance, the sheepfold was securely closed off. But when the shepherd wanted a sheep for his supper, he took his knife and killed the wolf.’ 

Woodcut by Francis Barlow, 1687; the end of “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

The next version does not appear until three centuries later in the Hecatomythium of the 15th-century Italian professor Laurentius Abstemius. In his telling, ‘A wolf, dressed in a sheep’s skin, blended himself in with the flock of sheep and every day killed one of the sheep. When the shepherd noticed this was happening, he hanged the wolf on a very tall tree. On other shepherds asking him why he had hanged a sheep, the shepherd answered: The skin is that of a sheep, but the activities were those of a wolf.’ Abstemius’ comment on the story follows the Biblical interpretation: ‘people should be judged not by their outward demeanor but by their works, for many in sheep’s clothing do the work of wolves’.

My film, on the surface is the opposite, but may adopt similar themes, especially as to the second version of the fable.

Dinner For Few

Sociopolitical metaphor of today’s world. The characters are both players and victims in a system that runs like a well-oiled machine, constantly feeding the ones that foolishly consume all the resources of the ecosystem, while others are only fed by left-overs or what has fallen off the table. Inevitably, this exhausted and old vicious circle comes to a catastrophic, messy and violent end. Sadly, its offspring is not a sign of hope but the spitting image of the parent.

dinner for few characters

I find it very valuable that each character is explicitly representative of social figures. I will concern the significance and character of each character in my film, rather than just another passive animal over there.


Start in the middle

‘Life of Brian’ – women in beards


My current story sets up that being a wolf isn’t desirable – expected punishment for rabbit

Thatcher – get people to buy their own council house – labour converted to conservative – rabbits converted to foxes – wolves would want to convert rabbits, would be a very harsh move

Topic/theme – middle hot thing, identity, social advancement

Must renounce what’s left behind

colour palette – middle conflict

Gentile wolf family

Parents to be convinced

What is it about wolf life that’s attractive? Not a wolf, you’re a nobody, everyone pretending to be a wolf

Compromised animals who aren’t being themselves

Prey instinct – resolution?

anything – imbalance – people join in – what do they sacrifice?

‘Wolf in sheep clothing’ – opposite story

Simple – house = rabbit death world, heads on wall, skin rugs ect.

superseed wolves? – Animal Farm

Demonstrate why it’s better to be a wolf

TENSION – mask gets you through the door, once through then what?! – May, Trump!

Does the rabbit do a better job than actual wolves?

Aung San Suu Kyi




Moral question – what are you willing to sacrifice?

Jung – redefining identity

Can’t eat

  1. imposter
  2. wolf family – challenge ideology/world view

2 opposites – 2 sides 1 character – wolf/rabbit

Why does the rabbit want to be a wolf ? – upper class have leisure/industry because they eat meat, don’t have to eat all the time/forage, unlike rabbits


Throwing the cat among the pigeons is a British idiom used to describe a disturbance caused by an undesirable person from the perspective of a group.

Wolf mask reveals wolf – sociopolitical – not born as – socially fabricated – rules/conventions

CONTRAST – needs to stay awkward

Rabbit about to bite rabbit meat – duck at door

Could leave it on a series of options for the audience – keep it slightly loose

Society – post war British – social mobility, don’t have to work in factories anymore – ascend social ladder – problems changing social identity – (also family)

Ralph Steadman – Dad and baby – rabbit creates better life for himself though may alienate himself from rabbit world

Science about happines – always on same scale pretty much – lotter/injury – wolves just as miserable


start things up – get resonance

Sacrificing self to advance – what do you have to sacrifice? – nothing is free (no meal is free)

2 groups: money and power group, and artist and lovers – contrasts two world views then sees behind curtain – not all that great


provoke thought

limited colour – fascism – red, white, black

dinner table – simple design!

Visual Language

If I go digital, I would like to adopt loose lines similar to this, though this is a little too pretty for my dark context.

In an ideal world, I would like to use linocut printing for my film, however this is incredibly time consuming, expensive and tricky. Ushev creates a similar aesthetic digitally, which is something I will consider experimenting with.