There are times of tyranny. More than ever, we have waged an endless battle against those who have been singled out as our enemies. Could it be that our hearts still remember what solidarity is? Will we still be able to take a moment and reflect on our reality? In an extremely complex context for humanity, Wolfwalkers comes to our screens as a powerful tale of empathy when hopelessness seems to have taken hold of us.
“I hope Wolfwalkers can inspire a little empathy in everyone,” says Oscar nominee Tomm Moore. “I can’t remember who said it, but someone once mentioned that cinema is an empathy machine. Showing someone else’s world, someone else’s point of view, allows us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others; either through those who are considered intruders and who we have been told that we should hate ”.
The person in charge of tapes like Song of the Sea (2014) or The Secret of the Book of Kells (2009) co-directs the debut feature by Ross Stewart –art director of Kells or ParaNorman (2012) – to show us that message through a pack of wolves that threaten an old colony that is part of ancient Ireland. “[La empatía] It is something that, sadly, we have been losing“Says Moore. “And it seems that we have really gotten into a place where it will be difficult to overcome the divisions that we imagine between us. But, in some way, maybe the young people are the hope, and they can see beyond those divisions and come together. The world depends on us, that we see beyond those divisions and can work together”.
Wolfwalkers tells the story of Robyn Goodfellowe, a little English girl who emigrates to Ireland with Bill, her father, a hunter who must help a community that seeks to eradicate the pack of wolves that threaten her. Forced to stay locked up at home, Robyn begins to develop her talents in her father’s profession. Her desire to explore the world around her new home leads her to discover something unknown about that group of animals. From the hand of a peculiar girl named Mebh MacTíre, Robyn understands that the real threat that endangers her life is not really the one she has been told forever.
This quest for seized freedom, which shows tyranny at its most aggressive, becomes very familiar to 21st century audiences. For Stewart, what drives little Robyn’s rebellious spirit is something that is germinated in those who will be the future of the world. “When young people around the world begin to realize who they are, and what kind of adults they are becoming, they face great rejection, either from their parents or from society; even among his colleagues. There is great pressure surrounding them. And many times, it takes great courage for them to rebel against that and say, ‘no. This is who I am, this is what I believe in and this is what I want to become. I think it is a very important phase [de la vida]. That’s something universal and I hope the Wolfwalkers audience will react to that. ”
An animated cinema to change the world
True to the spirit of animated cinema, Wolfwalkers employs a metaphor to explore that spirit of tyranny and division that pervades the world off-screen today. Although the Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine productions studios project began work in 2013, its story ends up being, in the words of Tomm Moore, “much more relevant than we thought it would be. In a context where reality quickly catches up with fiction, Tomm hopes that this film “could be a small part of the change” that the world needs.
“Our history of colonization occurs in a period set 400 years ago or so when the British began to impose their will on the countries they wanted to control,” says Moore. “Robyn is a little girl from England who, at first, sees the wolves, the Irish, the heathen and the Wolfwalkers in the forest as the great enemies that she must defeat. She wants to be part of that colonizing force. She wishes to kill the wolves to show society that she is part of them. Things get complicated when she establishes a bond of friendship between the so-called ‘enemies’ and this is how she begins to see the world from a different perspective. And with a magical transformation, she is able to understand the perspective of wolves and see reality through the eyes of those she wanted to hunt in the beginning. Wolfwalkers is a metaphor for what we all need to do. Somehow, we have to take that leap of imagination to see the world through the eyes of our so-called enemies.”.
For both filmmakers, the narrative and visual tools of animated film give the genre a very promising future. “We are very excited about what is happening with animation,” they tell us. In a world where lines, shapes, colors and materials have become infinite and inexhaustible tools of a powerful cinema, Wolfwalkers breaks the boundaries of a genre that has been pigeonholed by pop culture as “only for children, destined to families or certain demographic groups, but rather as a cinema open to all and for all ”.
Wolfwalkers is part of the 2020 edition of the Los Cabos International Film Festival, whose hybrid edition will allow this story to be seen throughout the country this November 15 on its website. Later, the film directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart will reach more than 100 countries – including Mexico – this December 11 through Apple TV +.
Apple TV + animation cinema Los Cabos Film Festival
Arturo Magaña Arce Passionate about watching, writing, reading, researching and talking about cinema in all its forms. I’m a Star Wars fan, I know all the Friends chapters by heart and if you ask me about Mexican cinema, there is no one to shut me up. Editor at Cine PREMIERE.