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.’
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.
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.
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
- 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
CORE ASPECT – MESSAGE
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
limited colour – fascism – red, white, black
dinner table – simple design!
‘Hound’ – Georgia Kriss
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.
Influence for set design and camera angles: