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'Brotherhood of the Wolf' to Screen at UW-Eau Claire April 28-May1

RELEASED: April 19, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Historical romance meets martial arts in "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001), a high-gloss French thriller that screens April 28-May 1 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Inspired by the true legend of the Beast of the Gevaudan, a being that killed scores of women and children in a rural province of France in the 1700s, the film will be shown at 6 and 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Directed by Christophe Gans, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" revisits one of the rare French myths, that of a mysterious creature that killed more than 60 people between 1764 and 1767 before being vanquished under mysterious circumstances. The beast was said to be of colossal size and dragon-like, and was rumored to be the devil. All of France was shaken by the inexplicable killings.

After two years of slaughter, the Royal Court sends a special envoy, Gregoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan), to destroy the beast. Strong, spirited and rational, the young noble horseman is accompanied by the taciturn Mani (martial arts star Mark Dacascos), a Mohawk Indian he met in New France ( Canada) during the Seven Years War. The two are housed at the home of old Marquis D'Apcher, whose grandson (Jeremie Renier) serves as their guide.

During a dinner in his honor, Fronsac meets Mariane De Morangias (Emilie Dequenne) and her brother Jean-Francois (Vincent Cassel), members of the most influential family in the region. As winter arrives the attacks multiply, and Fronsac is regarded with increasing animosity by members of the community. His standing is not helped by his liaison with a beautiful but troubled prostitute (Monica Bellucci).

Faced with the intensifying slaughter, the impatient King Louis XV dispatches his own lieutenant to the region. No sooner does he arrive than he captures a wolf and falsely claims he has killed the beast. Fronsac is ordered to participate in this pretense before returning to Paris. But before he leaves, Fronsac organizes one last hunt. This time Mani will lead the horsemen, using ancient Shaman techniques. Nothing will prepare them for what they discover.

"There's no doubt that 'Brotherhood of the Wolf,' the berserk yet entertaining French period drama and action picture — yes, that's right — takes itself much too seriously. But that doesn't mean you should, and you'll probably have a good time if you don't," wrote New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell. "Set in the 18th century, the picture has a daring attention-span deficit and an epic silliness that can be awesomely entertaining. It's a film for 14-year-olds of all ages, with the standard cornucopia of allures for that age group: more nudity, dismemberment and bloodshed than all the installments of the video game Quake combined. … 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' is rated R for its cornucopia of allures for adolescents: nudity, featuring a shameless fade from a breast to a mountaintop, and reams of hand-to-hand, hand-to-jaw, hand-to-entrails violence."

Admission is $2 for International Film Society and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby.

The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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