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'Stalk the Wild Child' is probably one of cinema's more accurate interpretations of feral/wild children and the plight of rehabilitating them. In this film, we follow Cal, a young boy dumped in a forest as a toddler only to find a new family in the wolves who raise him. When he is discovered, aged around ten, it is a strenuous task for psychologist Dr Hazard and his assistant to reacclimatises this child, who thinks and acts very much in an animalistic manner, back into normal human society. Yet, while on the surface they do succeed to some degree, Cal experiences problems right into adulthood as his wolfish childhood is always lurking under the surface.
A far cry from fuzzy Disney -esque Mowgli stories, this film explores what it is to be a feral child and the ethics of the psychologists who try to help them. Often, the audience does wonder if Hazard is rehabilitating Cal for the child's sake or because it makes a good journal paper (an issue raised in the case of Genie, one of the world's most famous socially-isolated/feral children). It also deals with how such children cope with eventually being introduced to civilisation and how they fare in adulthood, where they can no longer always be protected from the public's glare and from their own past. What is most poignant is the wolves show Cal more love and care than many humans show each other.
'Stalk the Wild Child' is a film definitely suited to those with an interest in the realities of feral children and the complexities of their situation. It is a good visual companion to books covering this topic.
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