Film des Monats

Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf

Film des Monats April 2017 •

The poetry film »The wolf fearing the wolf / Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf« (2014) by Juliane Jaschnow and Stefan Petermann is a good example of how a narrative poem can be (re-)imagined without falling back on illustration. How a simple, clear visual form can create multiple layers. How sound and color can steer the atmosphere without being intrusive.


  1. a border or case for enclosing a picture, mirror, etc.
  2. a rigid structure formed of relatively slender pieces, joined so as to surround sizable empty spaces or nonstructural panels
  3. a body, especially a human body, with reference to its size or build; physique: He has a large frame.
  4. a structure for admitting or enclosing something
  5. form, constitution, or structure in general; system; order
  6. a particular state, as of the mind
  7. the information or image on a screen or monitor at any one time.
  8. to form or make, as by fitting and uniting parts together; construct
  9. to contrive, devise, or compose, as a plan, law, or poem: to frame a new constitution
  10. to conceive or imagine, as an idea
  11. to form or seem to form (speech) with the lips, as if enunciating carefully

Frame; The object or case being framed, is usually more complex, more detailed, or more important than the frame itself. The framework can serve as containment, shielding or protection, or even clarification or embellishment.

A frame is often a structural system that supports other components of a physical construction and/or a boundary that limits the construction’s extent.

In movies we talk of framework and reframing;

In film reframing is a change in camera angle without a cut and can include changing the focus of the scene. The term has been more often used in film criticism than in actual cinema. In production or post-production, reframing can be used to change a sequence without having to reshoot. For example, zooming in on an actor to edit out bits and pieces you don’t want the audience to see. Shift focus.

No, I do not mean to copy a dictionary or Wikipedia. When you watch the film The wolf fearing the wolf/Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf bearing these meanings of the word »frame« in mind, you will immediately understand how strong and inspiring the visual choices Juliane Jaschnow made as a filmmaker, are. The visual idea is simple and sober, but makes for a very rich and layered film. It leaves ample room for interpretation of the viewer. Much needed room also, for the poem.

A poem that seems written for the film rather than the other way around. Unless they came together in the process of the making and collaboration, in which case they did a perfect job reinforcing each other ideas. The poem seems to struggle to comply with the imposed visual frame and rubs frantically against the borders of that frame. Like a caged animal looking for a way out. That struggle makes the poem stronger and gives it a strong sense of urge. A narrative poem full of imagination is visually retranslated in an original way.

The overall atmosphere is set immediately by the use of strong sounds. Glitchy, but never slick. Ominous, but never misleading. It draws the viewer into the film. You feel more a part of the film than you merely are a voyeur. The voice/reading never feels mandatory, but is irrefutable part of the whole. The tone of voice and pace of reading bonds nicely with the soundtrack and -effects.

The choice of colour and subtle lighting complete the underlying tension that you find between the lines of the poem. The contrasts between light and dark, black and red are not new, but they reinforce the clear visual choices. They also enhance the mood of the poem.

Overall the film is underexposed and that was a wise choice. It takes away clear edges and makes for a strong contrast with the visual idea of the frame. It is a strong triangle (sound, image, color) that is used to depict the poem, but it is the editing of the film and the few visual narratives, that make it into a perfect frame.

The choice to work with a live actor edited in stop-motion emphasizes the fragmentation of the soundtrack. But it also gives the filmmaker the ability to use and play with the connection between sound(effects) and cuts or movements.

Strong use of details and close-up (the hands at 00:50) in the same nervous editing style are alternated by small islands of peace with little movement or sound (crickets). These alternations create extra tension but also give the viewer the necessary peace of mind, when needed. It also makes way for the voice to play with the intonation and acting.

The way the visual story unfolds itself (the move or switch of the frame at 01:00, the folding of the standing space at 01:34) is a perfect match with the content of the poem. Without illustrating. Highlighting these visual ideas with nervous electronic sounds gives the whole an unnerving feel. Yet the film stays playful and thoughtful, but still comes across as organic.

The wolf fearing the wolf/Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf is a good example of how a narrative poem can be (re-)imagined without falling back on illustration. How a simple, clear visual form can create multiple layers. How sound and color can steer the atmosphere without being intrusive.

Stefan Petermann

Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf

ein Wolf war mir erschienen
unverhofft im Dunkel
oder besser
im wenigen Licht
das die Nacht noch ließ

einen Wolf kannte ich nur von Bildern
doch mehr als meinen Augen
traute ich meiner Angst
im Nacken ein Brennen
ein Schaudern auf der Haut
ein Scharren in mir

ein eigenes Grundstück am Wald
mit dem Wunsch, Ruhe zu finden
damit die Natur Idyll sein kann
ein Zaun dazwischen

und nun:
an diesem Zaun
ein Wolf
ein wildes Tier
aus alten Zeiten

einfühlsam war ich
flexibel und gefasst
und niemals gnadenlos
mit Worten war ich gewachsen
doch mit Worten würde ein Wolf
sich nicht vertreiben lassen

ein Stock vielleicht, ein scharfes Messer
mein leichter Körper schwer gesetzt
dem Tier entgegen
allein Instinkt und keine Gnade mehr

Instinkt allein
die Sinne endlich wach
begierig mich zu schützen
bereit zur Abwehr
und viel mehr noch
mich zu stellen
den ersten Schlag zu führen

es drängt mich hin zum Wolf

er wittert mich
er nimmt mich wahr
er zögert

ein wildes Tier vor ihm

ein Schritt zurück
ein leichtes Knacken
mich sanft stimmen will der Wolf
kein Anlass sein
für meinen Zorn
traut er seiner Furcht
und weicht

da stehe ich
jenseits des Zauns
im wenigen Licht
ein Wolf muss es gewesen sein
und ein Wolf hat ihn vertrieben

ein wenig nur zitterte ich noch nach

Stefan Petermann

The wolf fearing the wolf

A wolf sneaking up on me
Unexpected in the dark
More precisely put
In the little light
Left over from the night

I happen to know wolfs from pictures only
Yet more do I trust my fears and woes
Than I do my eyes
There is burning in my neck
Shivering down my back
And scrabbles under my flesh 

A private place at the forest
For me to enjoy some calm
So that nature can be idyllic
A fence in between

And now
Right at this fence
A wolf
A beast from, oh, so long ago

Perceptive as I was
Flexible and composed,
And never merciless
Words brought me up,
Yet would never bring down a wolf

Some stick maybe
A very sharp knife
My lightweight body in a heavy shell
Against the wolf
Instinct only, mercy no more

Instinct only,
Senses cleared at last
Eager to protect me where they can
Ready for defence
And even more so
To steel myself
To be the first to strike

I was driven to the wolf

Getting wind of me
Perceiving me
It halts still

A wild beast in front of him

One step back
A slight cracking
The wolf trying to soothe me
And not to be a source of anger to me
It trusts in its fear
And yields

There I stand
Right behind the fence
Amidst the little light
A wolf is what it had to be
And a wolf drove him away

Only little do I shiver at his thought

Abdruck mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Verfassers

About the Film

  • The wolf fearing the wolf/Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf
  • Germany 2014, 4:38 min
  • Direction: Juliane Jaschnow
  • Text: Stefan Petermann
  • Sound: Stefan Petermann u. Juliane Jaschnow
  • Voice-over: Roland Kirberg
  • Producer: lab/p – poetry in motion/Ostpol e. V., Leipzig
  • Awards: kurzsüchtig leipzig, publikumspreis 2015; 2. platz jugendvideopreis sachsen-anhalt 2015; Ritter Sport-Award of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2016.

About the Author

Marc Neys (aka Swoon) is a composer / video-artist from Belgium. As one of the leading and most prolific figures in modern videopoetry he made videopoems for and with writers from all over the globe. He inspired new creators through his workshops and showcases on videopoetry. His works have been selected and featured at festivals all over the world.

Swoon’s albums on bandcamp

His video’s on Vimeo

Read more
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