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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
I WILL WALK LIKE A CRAZY HORSE (Fernando Arrabal, 1973) **
This was my third Arrabal movie after VIVA LA MUERTE (1971) and THE GUERNICA TREE (1975); all three were released as a DVD Collection by Cult Films – however, I came to own all of them via alternate formats…which, frankly, saved me from doling out my hard-earned cash for the set (especially since I only really liked THE GUERNICA TREE)!
To be honest, Arrabal has here reconfirmed himself an exponent of the kind of Surrealism which I find hollow, ostentatious and positively grating – much like the work of his contemporary Alejandro Jodorowsky (though in his case I’m 50/50, as at least I’m partial to two of the four films I’ve watched so far). Mind you, as I’ve said more often than I care to remember, my all-time favorite film-maker is Luis Bunuel – perhaps Cinema’s foremost Surrealist – and the art form itself is one I feel to be most congenial to the language of film…but not when it resorts to emetic, shocking-for-shock’s sake detail (such as the pointless images here of ejaculation, scatology, various sexual perversions, and ending with cannibalism)!
What little plot there is concerns a murder mystery, which then develops into a chase when the victim’ own son is somehow targeted as the perpetrator; the unsubtly-named Police Inspector Gay follows the handsome anti-hero into the desert, where the latter meets a magically-endowed dwarf. In spite of the danger, the man returns to the city (Paris) and takes the little man along: the latter’s incongruity with his surroundings – he’s a shepherd who never caught up with the modern world – is fairly perceptive and, even if the midget’s behavior is generally nothing short of obnoxious, this constitutes just about the only tolerable aspect of an otherwise grossly self-indulgent film. For what it’s worth, everything comes to a head when one character takes over the personality of the other!
Incidentally, given the number of ‘humiliating’ scenes she appears in, it’s baffling how a respected actress like Emmanuelle Riva (playing the mother) allowed herself to be involved with this kind of extreme stuff! And, just as much of a paradox is the fact that, for all his intended savagery and pointed irreverence, Arrabal gives the film a curiously polished look – which is accompanied besides by a quite agreeable soundtrack (highlighting gibberish children’s vocals)…
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