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The Wild Child (1970)

L'enfant sauvage (original title)
In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who cannot walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.

Director:

François Truffaut

Writers:

François Truffaut (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Jean Gruault (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »

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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Pierre Cargol Jean-Pierre Cargol ... Victor, l'enfant sauvage
François Truffaut ... Le Dr Jean Itard
Françoise Seigner Françoise Seigner ... Madame Guerin
Jean Dasté ... Professor Philippe Pinel
Annie Miller Annie Miller ... Madame Lemeri
Claude Miller ... Monsieur Lemeri
Paul Villé Paul Villé ... Remy
Nathan Miller Nathan Miller ... Baby Lemeri
Mathieu Schiffman Mathieu Schiffman ... Mathieu
Jean Gruault Jean Gruault ... Visitor at Institute
Robert Cambourakis Robert Cambourakis ... Countryman
Gitt Magrini Gitt Magrini ... Countrywoman
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Countryman
Laura Truffaut Laura Truffaut ... Girl at farm
Eva Truffaut Eva Truffaut ... Girl at farm
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Storyline

1798. In a forest, some countrymen catch a wild child who can not walk, speak, read nor write. Doctor Itard is interested by the child, and starts to educate him. Everybody thinks he will fail, but with a lot of love and patience, he manages to obtain results and the child continues with normal development. This is based on true story. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At last an adult film to which you can take your children.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

11 September 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wild Child See more »

Filming Locations:

Aubiat, Puy-de-Dôme, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,206, 25 April 1999

Gross USA:

$65,560

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$65,560
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film isn't based on a novel; it was a technical report or, more precisely, medical notes, entitled "Rapport fait à son excellence le Ministre de l'intérieur sur les nouveaux développemens et état actuel du sauvage de l'Aveyron." [More or less: Report to the Minister of the Interior about new developments and current state of the wild child of Aveyron.] See more »

Goofs

When getting ready to see the neighbors, the boy's hands are on the same pane of glass in the window, but in the next cut, his hands are on different panes. See more »

Quotes

Le Dr Jean Itard: For the present, his emotions appear unaffected. Despite the ill-treatment he endured at the institute, no one ever saw him cry.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Day for Night: An Appreciation (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Piccolo and Strings in C Major RV 443
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Truffaut asks the question through a dramatic narrative- can humanity be brought out through science?
22 January 2006 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

The Wild Child could be the kind of movie that doesn't work. In a way it's hard to find what the dramatic conflict of the film would be if not for the push & pull struggle between the scientists and his 'test' subject of sorts, Victor, the wild child of the title. But somehow it does- Truffaut laces the film with a kind of undertone of logic for the audience (how can a boy for most of his life be out in the wild and become suddenly domesticated), while making a sort of nature versus society statement. The film also has the director's trademark lightness, which helps to not make the film's subject matter too bleak or disparaging. For it could be- Truffaut actually gives a kind of suspense to the narrative at times, that just when you think Victor is on his way to success, he stumbles and starts to act out on the floor or escape into the wild for a breather. It's a very curious film, not just because Truffaut (in one of his few times) gives himself the starring role, but also that the child- like Makim Munzak in Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala- had his only significant role ever in the film. And it's quite the seemingly impulsive, and always alive, performance that filmmaker's rarely get out of children.

Victor is named this only halfway through the film, and it starts off with him being chased by a small mob and their dogs through the woods. It's maybe the most exciting part of the film, but then this segways into the early stages of the boy's troubles. He's placed in a deaf and dumb school, beat up by the other kids, and still with the passions and intelligence that the woods have given him. It becomes a fascination in the story of what the limits, if any, are for him to learn everything real boys do. Once he's put into Dr. Itard's (Truffaut) care, then the film sets off onto a very direct path- how will he learn, will he, and how long will it it take? As with his other films, the literary aspect kicks in as the scientist takes repeated notes on the boy, using a kind of pre-Darwinian way of scientific methods. But it's within the little moments in the film, like when Victor is out on his walks, or makes his little successes, where Truffaut as a filmmaker picks up the best parts of the film.

This could be a very routine picture, and for some it may actually be a little dull and disheartening. Will the boy ever learn? The film actually does raise questions within its format, as it is based on a true case (from taking science classes I know there are also others of this kind as well). It brings to mind about what is pure and delicate about the ways of an animal and what separates them and humans. Each little test becomes dramatic conflict in the structure Truffaut puts forth, and in a way it's rather experimental. And it even becomes delightful in certain scenes, like when he first learns how to ask for milk, and then this expands. This, along with a sweet Vivaldi score in the background, and interesting visuals (love the iris usage), makes it a worthwhile entry in Truffaut's oeuvre. Not one of his absolute best, but up there.


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