Set within the breathtaking Sequoia National Park, a vast unblemished paradise of trees, hills and glades, The Wolf and the Wayfarer is a stunning piece. As beautiful as is it impenetrable, this forest is the perfect parable for both the film and for spirituality. Shot in darkness, by firelight and under dazzling sun, this variation adds texture and depth to proceedings. The natural landscape also provides a backdrop of sounds to fill the space, from insects chirping to the soft crackle of leaves below wandering feet.
In case it’s not yet clear, The Wolf and the Wayfarer is a meditation. Not a silent, inward retreat, but an asking of questions without expectation of instant answers. Much like the religious texts this short stems from, The Wolf and the Wayfarer is not here to offer certainties or to show a clear narrative. Instead, viewers are offered an eight-minute snapshot of what might have been and asked to take on faith that something special has happened.
Meditation needs a certain mind-space; and The Wolf and the Wayfarer may not appeal to those not already in the marketplace for this. Indeed, your tolerance of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life may serve as a waymark for your enjoyment of the short. With languorous imagery, seemingly random interspersions, and deep philosophical underpinning beneath recognisably human concern, there’s much Malick to Maazin Kamal’s direction.
The standout character is Ronnie Clark’s Stranger. Big of beard, bare of foot, with eyes and tongue full of wisdom, he is the guru you seek to find yourself. The Wolf and the Wayfarer won’t give you this state on a plate, but for making you stop and think for eight minutes after the credits start, it’s done it job well and made something of note.
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CAST: Ronnie Clark, Joe Haege, Laura Lenee
DIRECTOR: Maazin Kamal
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Vadim Aynbinder
SYNOPSIS: An enigmatic stranger leads a lost pilgrim seeking redemption toward a fabled monastery that lies beyond a vast, impenetrable forest.