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!
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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
The comments to this bizarre and intriguing film are as interesting as the film itself. People who have never experienced the 20thC European art film milieu will often cry 'pretentious' which is as banal a description or accusation as anything and offers nothing , where the film itself is so full of offering.
I came across this film as a gay theme recommendation which turned out to also be somewhat off-centre considering the epic nature in which modern man's big themes are performed here.
I leave it to the individual to choose regarding seeking out this movie. For me there were two significant rewards in having done so.
1.It is a fine example of the early 70s Auteur-cinema's bent for creating 'tableau' and 'image' - often derived from the contemporary theatre of the time, the advent of the 'Happening' and Performance Art. Often quite stagy, high camp, paying homage to both theatre and cinema (Passolini in mind) it sought profundity and the expression of big themes. To that extent it speaks in a classic period language , and in my mind is a good quality example of the genre.
2. The real surprise on discovering this film 35 years after it's time was how genuinely shocking it actually is. Films like these remind us that the permissive age of the 60s and 70s was authentically radical and that as i write in 2009, i speak from a time of deep conservatism and fear of such a freedom. We no longer trust ourselves with content such as is created in this film. The shock therefore lies ultimately not in the film, but in the fact that my current time is shown to be so oppressive, in the light of the images that flash out from this film.
A short footnote about the Frenchness of this film. The early 70's would see a closure of the taken-for-granted assumption that France was the great cultural engine of the 20th century. Something of the previous spirit resides in this film. The by then established identification of France herself as a geography of Freudianism, of dream, of psychoanalysis; The depiction of the ageing ruins of France's glorious past as mythical symbols of Man's history itself. All this was very much given in French cinema of the day, as a code that conversed with decades of high cultural production. For me it's always a pleasure to experience this outrageous fortune, this extraordinary conceit.
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