The genre of horror has made only sporadic appearances in Czechoslovakian film. One such occasion was the release of Věra Chytilová’s Wolf Chalet, but as with other works by the controversial filmmaker, she used the genre as a vehicle for elucidating wider truths. In Wolf Chalet, the director stays within her favourite territory: a look at the morality of a relationship that approaches a parable of contemporary society. The plot is based on a story by Daniela Fischerová and it is essentially constructed according to the narrative structure of an archetypal tale. The narrative outlines how a group of 11 young people must undergo a rite of passage prematurely, in an environment cut off from the ordinary world. The group is taking part in an elite skiing course at a resort called Wolf Chalet in the mountains. They must endure harsh drills under their chief instructor, nicknamed ‘Daddy’, and two other instructors, Dingo and Babeta. The instructors deliberately incite mistrust among their pupils and compel them to make a life and death decision: if the young people sacrifice one of their peers, they will be allowed to return home. The horror surprisingly turns into a sci-fi. The instructors are revealed to be aliens who are testing samples of humans as part of their preparations for an invasion. Chytilová film works at exposing the mechanisms by which totalitarian regimes manipulate the populace. Despite the fact that young people often represent hope in Chytilová´s feature films, the ski course participants at Wolf Chalet have already been infected by greed and the compromising attitude of adults. Key features of the film are reinforced by nerve-racking, dynamic takes from cinematographer Jaromír Šofr and the disturbing score by Michal Kocáb.
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