Running away from the police, Aden goes to the desert where he meets an uncivilized man who has a special link with Mother-Earth. He ends up by convincing the hermit to come along with him into another desert... the big town!
When his mother dies, the police want to talk to Aden Rey, but Aden, a guilt-ridden epileptic, has left for the desert. There he comes upon Marvel, a noble savage. Aden, Marvel, and Marvel's goat become companions through travels, a wedding, an examination of Aden's role in his mother's passing, a trial, additional deaths, and various meals. There are also flashbacks to Aden's childhood and his relationship to his mother. Meanwhile, the police step up their efforts to find Aden. Written by
In this, the third entry in Arrabal's surrealist trilogy, he steers away from the socio-political aspects that were so dominant in his previous two films, and focuses more on satirizing the modern world, along with his habitual penchant for the degradation of all things religious and themes of incest.
The basic plot outline is as follows: Aden Rey is on the run from the police after instigating the death of his mother. He eventually finds himself in the desert where he meets a curious dwarf who can communicate with and control nature. In the desert Aden gets in touch with his inner-mystic with the help of Marvel the dwarf. After hanging out with goats and camels in the desert and ultimately becoming obsessed with Marvel, Aden decides to bring him back to civilisation and show him the world.
Marvel is some kind of messianic figure. He has lived for 10,000 years and can turn night into day, make blind people see and command bees and goats to do his bidding. When the pair return to Paris (along with Marvel's goat, Therese) Aden introduces Marvel to women, tea, fancy apartments and cigars, all of which he finds incomprehensible and hilarious - regarding an old man puffing on a cigar: "He is like an infant suckling at the breast!".
At one point during the film Marvel is tricked into joining the circus where his act consists of dancing to rock 'n' roll while the crowd points and laughs, but instead of feeling humiliated he enjoys himself to no end. Halfway through his act he climbs into the lion cage and plays with the beast, then innocently frees it into the audience.
Throughout their adventures Aden suffers from constant flashbacks of his childhood, which reveals his mother to be a domineering, abusive woman who allowed him no contact with the outside world and with whom he was unhealthily in love with. He visits her home and dresses in her lingerie, then, in a nightmarish sequence, messily gives birth to a skull.
Unlike Arrabal's two earlier features I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse is not set during the Spanish Civil War but in Paris in the early 70s, so modernism is the subject of constant parody. We frequently see gasmasked people having sex and involved in bizarre rituals. Marvel's running commentary on the absurdity and pointlessness of things is more often than not on point.
As is to be expected all of Arrabal's grotesque imagery is present, from penis mutilation to some repulsive cannibalism at the end, Arrabal never fails to disgust with his particular brand of surrealism.
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