*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marco Ferreri, during this era, made several films that had highly
ambiguous endings, where optimism and pessimism were both raised to
great heights and made barely distinguishable one from another.
Previously he has made 'Ciao Maschio' (Bye-Bye Monkey) which left Jane
Fonda sitting on the beach with a new baby looking at the ruins of her
Here Ferreri is in less iconoclastic mood, but still the ironies pile up to a heart-stopping finale. What this film asks is the agonising question 'Do we, by educating children, remove from them that which makes them wonderful?' Of course, there is more than that, but, when push comes to shove, that is what the film is about.
There may be a more Jungian film, but I don't know of it. Here we have 'liberal' primary school teacher Roberto (Bengini) on a collision course with the 'authorities'. We have a bunch of, possibly autistic, children and we have the wondrous mother earth of Dominique Laffin (Isabella), who, as far as I am concerned was the greatest screen siren since Marilyn Monroe. (How sad that she died before the world recognised her beauty and talent.) As Roberto and Isabella coalesce, procreate and 'rescue' these damaged little souls, Ferreri asks some huge questions about existence, evolution and our place in the universe. In the final shot, as Roberto carries his loved but irreparably damaged charge into the unforgiving sea, we see this tragic drama through the eyes of a caged frog. There are few films that I think I can't really get my head around, but this is certainly one of them!
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