THE WILD CHILD is a reissue of Francois Truffaut's 1970 drama about the education of a boy found living alone in the wilderness in 18th century France, based on a true story. The exclusive Bay Area engagement is at Landmark's Opera Plaza Cinema and Landmark's Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley, March 6-12, 2009.
Laura Truffaut, daughter of the director and actress in the film, will appear in San Francisco on March 6 at 7:20 and 9:40 shows and the Shattuck on March 7 at the late afternoon and early evening shows
The year is 1798, and farmers in the south of France, on the hunt for a predator, instead find a naked young boy, presumably grown up in the wild without human contact. As the latest sensation, he's paraded before fee-paying gawkers at the institute for the deaf and dumb, while Dr. Itard (played by director Truffaut himself) debates with a colleague: is the boy a purely natural human, a tabula rasa, or simply an idiot? Itard takes the boy into his own home in an attempt to educate and civilize him.
Based on an actual case, and with its voiceover narration (an adaptation of Itard's two reports into diary form), this is Truffaut's nearest approach to documentary, with Nestor Almendros' striking b&w photography evoking the earliest days of the cinema, and a much-imitated all-Vivaldi score. As l'enfant sauvage, Jean-Pierre Cargol, a French Roma boy picked from over 2,500 hopefuls, is alternately ferocious and docile, while as Dr. Itard, Truffaut is superb. (Alfred Hitchcock wrote Truffaut asking for "the autograph of the actor who plays the doctor, he is so wonderful," while Steven Spielberg was so impressed by the director's compassionate performance that he cast Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) Cast partly because he realized he'd be directing the boy within the film, Truffaut imposed on himself a "no smiling" rule - he lapses briefly once - to attain a kind of gravity, but then this only reinforces his ruthlessly unsentimental treatment of potentially treacly material, even as the inevitable question ("Was it worth it?") arises.
We hope to see you there!
Official Website: http://www.thefilmdesk.com/Export8.htm
Added by landmark on February 26, 2009