For what it's worth, the back cover of the video
, as distributed by MGM/UA
in the United States:
In what has been called his most mature and aesthetic film to date, acclaimed director Francois Truffaut has created an absorbing drama, delicate and unpredictable as life itself.
Based on the true account of Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard, a doctor at The National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Truffaut himself gives a memorable performance as Itard, unyielding in his belief that the child,
played with haunting precision by Jean-Pierre Cargol, can be transformed into a civilized being. Itard removes the young orphan from the institute and takes him into his own home. Victor,
as the boy is now called, becomes increasingly divided between his longing for the wilderness and his new life with the doctor. But it is Itard, whose teaching strategies survive today in the Montessori Method, that has the most pressing ambivalence. Is he helping a savage become a human, or turning a child of the forest into a semi-civilized idiot? The answers don't come easily in this intricate and thought-provoking film.
Approximate Running Time: 1 hour 26 minutes
B&W - 1970
While my roommate
and I agree that the film's a little odd when one is accustomed to watching the standard Hollywood
fare (although the cheesy wipe
s at scene changes are a tad reminiscent of Star Wars
... thank you Akira Kurosawa
it held both of us and her dog transfixed
throughout - no small feat. I'm still in awe at Jean-Pierre Cargol
's performance. I'm is a bit miff
ed at the cover's failure to mention Francoise Seigner
as Madame Guerin
, the housekeeper
who cheerfully cleans up every mess and takes care of the kid when Itard
can't handle it -- not only does her character get to do all the dirty work
, they neglect to mention her in the film summary! Throughout the movie, I kept waiting for her to hurl something across the room (or better yet, at Itard
!) and yell about being sick of being taken for granted. Overall, though, an excellent film that asks some fascinating questions.