best when viewed in low light


History of the Black Man

Kehinde Wiley, I want to see what's next.

See The Wild Child

Hosted by Heathen Films, at New York's Film Forum

The Wild Child (1970), François Truffaut’s drama about the education of a boy found living alone in the wilderness in 18th century France, based on a true story, will run at Film Forum from Friday, November 7 through Thursday, November 13 (one week) in a new 35mm print. Showtimes daily are at 1:00, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8:00, and 9:45.

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.

The Wild Child is dedicated to Jean-Pierre Léaud, who played Truffaut’s alter ego Antoine Doinel in four films.

– Alfred Hitchcock

“As lucid and wryly witty a film as you could wish for… A beautiful use of simple techniques - black-and-white photography, Vivaldi music, even devices as outmoded as the iris - give it a very refreshing quality. DEEPLY MOVING.”
– Time Out (London)

“Unlike any other film Truffaut has ever made, yet only Truffaut could have made it. It is a lovely, pure film. A CLASSIC!”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Truffaut’s most thoughtful statement on his favorite subject: The way young people grow up, explore themselves, and attempt to function creatively in the world. Truffaut places his personal touch on every frame of the film. So often movies keep our attention by flashy tricks and cheap melodrama; it is an intellectually cleansing experience to watch this intelligent and hopeful film.”
– Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

“Suffused with Truffaut’s radiant love for the movies’ beginnings, when everything was being done for the first time, when the language was learned. It has a miraculous kind of balance: between freedom and control, originality and homage, the discovery of new experience and the contemplation of the past…Truffaut gives us an image of himself as both master and student, the image that contains all we need to know of him.”
– Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker

"CRITIC'S PICK: A gorgeous new print!"
– Time Out New York

1970 | 85 minutes | b&w

NOV 7-14 at 1:00, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8:00, 9:45


He Did It

"Yes I was almost arrested last night for making beautiful music in the streets of rochester. I helped march a small group of instrumentalists and vocalists through the streets playing, singing, and harmonizing by ear "we shall over come (we did overcome)" "star spangled banner" "america" "saints go marching in" and other patriotic turned into a crowd of over a hundred by the time we reached the DNC headquarters in Rochester...we took over the Hyatt marching through the hotel gathering guests, etc...then some of us got arrested on our way back to campus...I was let go...I don't imagine I'll ever be part of a more in-tune favorite part of the press story are the comments afterwards...Hilarious! looks like we had more support than detractors :-) I celebrated the next morning with my 8th graders at East HS by playing the video of Obama's victory speech in class and then creating a hip-hop version of "saints go marching" on keyboards."

In the past...