East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Civilization is Overrated: Hunting the Beast of the Gévaudan

I mentioned Brotherhood of the Wolf in yesterday’s post, and then realized that apparently I never wrote about that movie, that I saw in 2001 in a movie theatre in Turin together with my brother. We went to the first show in the afternoon, packing chips and some lemonade, and we had a lot of fun. Twenty years on, a director’s cut has been published, and so I went and checked it out again.
So, let’s see what this is all about.

And for starters, a bit of history – between 1764 and 1767, in the province of Gévaudan (South-Central France) an animal later identified as a wolf, or a dog, or a wolf-dog hybrid, went on a rampage, attacking an estimate (based on a 1987 study) 210 people, killing 113 and injuring 49 more. Based on the documents, 98 of the victims were partly eaten. Envoys from the King of France killed a wolf in 1765, and the case was considered closed – but the killings actually kept happening for two more years. Many considered the Beast to be some kind of werewolf, and indeed some pointed out in the chronicles of the time that the killings stopped after the Beast was shot with silver bullets.
The movie is thus based on a true story, and gets most of its historical references right, and offers an alternative interpretation of the historical events.

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