Ania (Lilith Stangenberg) lives a quiet life. Her sister (Saskia Rosendahl) just moved out, leaving her the apartment for herself. Apart from her boss’ (Georg Friedrich) temper, things at work are calm as well. But then Ania sees a wolf in the small patch of forest next to her apartment building and she becomes obsessed with capturing it.
Wild is a strange film, but in the best sense. It’s open to a lot of interpretation, although to me it clearly tells the story of a woman who discovers and falls in love with her own wild side. And we could stand more films of that kind.
Wolves are, of course, highly symbolic animals with a lot of meaning attached to them, at least in Western cultures. From the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tales to Dances with Wolves, there is a certain fascination in the relationship between humans and wolves that is hard to deny. (I should know, I have a wolf’s paw print tattooed on my wrist after all.) With her film, Krebitz taps right into that metaphoric potential.
Once Ania has spotted the wolf in basically her own backyard, she can’t get away from it. First she simply tries to feed it, but she can’t stand it being there but not with her. So she decides to capture it. But a wolf is not a pet, and she may be able to lock it in her apartment, but she can’t possibly contain it. Nevertheless, the two of them grow closer and as they do, Ania grows wilder herself. And that brings her into conflict with her environment that so far has only seen her as the meek and obedient girl.
This is all culminates in a moment of love that changes to a sex scene between Ania and the wolf that seamlessly transitions into an act of masturbation that seems designed to mark a territory. It’s a scene that goes through so many taboos so fast that they barely register – what is left is one of the most beautiful, softest and strangest celebrations of sex and (self-)love I have ever seen, perfectly scored with James Blake’s Retrograde. Ania’s freshly discovered love for herself and her wildness comes with rebellion – and you can’t help but rebel along with her.
It’s definitely a film that deserves a lot closer examination than a single viewing could possibly provide. But even with a single viewing there’s a quiet power to the film as much as to Ania that left me enchanted.