Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
If you don’t know what LARP is, you’ll discover soon enough in “The Wild Hunt,” a parable about the games men play. Live Action Role Playing involves players who dress in costumes and enact epic battles in a land of pretend. We know them best for re-enacting Civil War battles, but in this film, Canadian characters impersonate Vikings and Celts. Both sides speak in mock-Shakespearean imprecations that remind me of Ronnie (Z-Man) Barzell (“Ere this night is through, you will taste the black sperm of my vengeance!”).
The combatants have constructed an elaborate setting for their games deep in a forest. There is a stockade, a sort of fortress and even a Viking ship with its own moat. They’ve all designed elaborate costumes for themselves, ranging from medieval tunics and animal skins to a full suit of armor. Their makeup seems inspired by Kiss. They have elaborate rules to play by, the most draconian being to maintain “decorum,” which means never stepping out of character to speak as yourself.
Into this hotbed ventures an ordinary guy named Erik (Ricky Mabe), who fears he’s losing his girlfriend Evelyn (Kaniehtiio Horn) to the fantasy world. There aren’t many women players, but those few play crucial roles, usually as captive princesses and sacrificial maidens. I didn’t see any Amazons or Valkyries, perhaps because such roles would threaten the rah-rah macho types, who reminded me of the kinds of sports fans who riot when their team wins.
Evelyn has left for the big weekend, where she will be captured, held hostage and otherwise be the center of attention. Erik is fed up. He goes out to the forest to talk sense to her, but his role-playing brother Bjorn (Mark A. Krupa) makes him wear a costume because It Is Not Permitted to Wear Just a T-Shirt.