Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Wild Child (1970)

Based on a real-life case study, recorded in Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard's 1806 volume Memoire et Rapport sur Victor de L'Aveyron, The Wild Child is spiritually in line with Fran├žois Truffaut's other films about the pains of adolescence. Truffaut himself plays Dr. Jean Itard, a doctor working at Paris' Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. Itard takes on the challenge of Victor (Jean-Pierre Cargol), a nonverbal "wild boy" found abandoned in the woods. Realizing that the Institute's rather cruel methods may drive Victor further into himself, Dr. Itard brings the boy to his own home, hoping to establish a communication base with kindness and compassion. Once he has taught Victor how to listen and respond, Itard takes it upon himself to imbue the boy with a sense of morality. Adopting an austere cinematic technique (at times reminiscent of silent films), Truffaut unfolds his story with directness and simplicity. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 85 mins

Even if a human was raised in the woods by itself wouldn't it realize that walking upright is faster. I think this would be genetic and not a cultural aspect. For one thing I do sympathize with the boy actor for having to run around on all fours and being pushed around by the crowd.

Sort of an interesting aspect of authoritarianism played out when Dr. asks for Victor to pronounce out loud what he wants before getting it. But Victor only would say the sound out loud after receiving it and thus maybe considered a statement of appreciation/satisfaction.

Victor did have a cognitive dissonance breakdown when asked to match items to words before he was ready-obviously.

When the Doctor inflicted injustice on the boy the Doctor said:
I had elevated the savage man to stature of a moral being by the most noble of his attributes.

But a real test is not injustices imposed on ones self but to empathize with other's injustices.

Although a clear story and interesting I could not give it more than a 3. Any number of special features could have made this a much more valuable movie.

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