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The Wild Child (1970)

L'enfant sauvage (original title)
In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who cannot walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.

Director:

François Truffaut

Writers:

François Truffaut (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Jean Gruault (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Pierre Cargol Jean-Pierre Cargol ... Victor, l'enfant sauvage
François Truffaut ... Le Dr Jean Itard
Françoise Seigner Françoise Seigner ... Madame Guerin
Jean Dasté ... Professor Philippe Pinel
Annie Miller Annie Miller ... Madame Lemeri
Claude Miller ... Monsieur Lemeri
Paul Villé Paul Villé ... Remy
Nathan Miller Nathan Miller ... Baby Lemeri
Mathieu Schiffman Mathieu Schiffman ... Mathieu
Jean Gruault Jean Gruault ... Visitor at Institute
Robert Cambourakis Robert Cambourakis ... Countryman
Gitt Magrini Gitt Magrini ... Countrywoman
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Countryman
Laura Truffaut Laura Truffaut ... Girl at farm
Eva Truffaut Eva Truffaut ... Girl at farm
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Storyline

1798. In a forest, some countrymen catch a wild child who can not walk, speak, read nor write. Doctor Itard is interested by the child, and starts to educate him. Everybody thinks he will fail, but with a lot of love and patience, he manages to obtain results and the child continues with normal development. This is based on true story. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At last an adult film to which you can take your children.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

11 September 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wild Child See more »

Filming Locations:

Aubiat, Puy-de-Dôme, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,680, 7 November 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$61,373, 17 January 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film uses the same Vivaldi mandolin concerto as an earlier Truffaut film - The Bride Wore Black (1968) See more »

Goofs

The chalkboard goes from wet to dry between shots. See more »

Quotes

Le Dr Jean Itard: For the present, his emotions appear unaffected. Despite the ill-treatment he endured at the institute, no one ever saw him cry.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Is It Real?: Feral Children (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Piccolo and Strings in C Major RV 443
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Truffaut's most touching film
18 December 2003 | by ollie501See all my reviews

L'Enfant sauvage, Dir François Truffaut – 1969

Reviewed by Ollie – December 19th 2003

Three hunters discover and a naked child, living in a forest. Capturing him, he is taken to an institute for deaf and mute children. From there he is used as little more than an exhibit.

Having read of his story, Jean Itard, a Parisian doctor, played by Truffaut himself, makes it his goal to integrate this `wild child' into society. What follows is an astonishing tale of a boy, completely deprived of all human contact, as he adapt to life in an unfamiliar, structured society. Named simply `Victor' by Dr Itard, we watch as kindly doctor attempts to educate and communicate with this unusual child. We see Victor's first smiles; we hear his first intelligible sounds, and witness, for the first time, his tears.

This is a deeply powerful film, directed brilliantly by Truffaut, and far surpassing his earlier, and much more critically acclaimed `400 Blows'. Jean-Pierre Cargol plays Victor with a remarkable passion, and is absolutely convincing as this child of the forest. His mannerisms, his posture, his very presence would have one believing he genuinely was a `wild child'.

Truffaut follows this story with startling accuracy – based on the real life journals of Dr Itard, his adaptation is faithful to the last. His portrayal of the Doctor is filled with compassion, and a tenderness rarely seen in films.

This is genuine pleasure to watch, and is a testament to enduring spirit of mankind. The main criticism I have is the abrupt ending. We are left with so many unanswered questions. In truth, the real `Victor' died approximately 28 years after his first encounter with Itard. I know little of what happened during the time span between the end of the film and his death, but I intend to find out. This film is only a glance at a boy being introduced to a strange, frightening and unfamiliar world.

It is not without its moments of humour. The scene where Victor practically throws the doctor tending to Itard from the house is both funny and charming, while remaining delicately underplayed.

Everything about this film works so well, from the minimalist photography to the classical score. The casting could not have been better. Truffaut presents himself as not only an accomplished director, but also as an inspired actor. Jean-Pierre Cargol is utterly believable, and thoroughly likeable as Victor, and mention must go to Françoise Seigner, as Madame Geurin, Itard's housekeeper, and the child's carer.

This is a very special film, which deserves a great deal of respect. The visual transfer to DVD is accurate and crisp, and the mono soundtrack subtle, clear and effective. This is one DVD which would have greatly benefited from some extras. Perhaps some insight into Victors' life from adolescence to his death, and some information on what became of Itard. Lack of extras notwithstanding, this should still be very high on anyone's shopping list, and is highly recommended. I believe this was Truffauts' crowning achievement, and is a truly beautiful and inspiring film.



Reviewed by Ollie


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