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The Wild Child

February 15, 2016, 7:00 PM


“God, I miss Francois Truffaut. The French New Wave director, who died far too young in 1984 at 52, touched on many genres, emotions, and themes in his 21 features, but he was rarely as plainspokenly empathetic as in The Wild Child. The film’s a rarity: case study as poetry. The Wild Child is based on the true story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron, a feral 12-year-old who was found wandering naked in the forests near Toulouse in 1798. Scarred, savage, and unable to speak, he was taken to the National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Paris, where he came under the personal care of a young doctor named Jean Itard. Brimming with Enlightenment ideals, the latter saw a chance to test his theory that morality and language are what separate man from beast, and that these are learned. Given an animal, he would educate a human. Itard is played by the filmmaker himself as a gentle and caring intellectual, moved to compassion by the boy’s atavistic state yet roused by the challenge he presents…Four decades after its release, The Wild Child remains startling for its humane clarity, for Nestor Almendros’s brilliant black-and-white photography, and for the sense that Truffaut is achieving filmmaking mastery on a very small scale….At times the movie seems to be filtering the history of Western civilization through the figures of a man and a boy trying to speak to each other.”—Ty Burr, Boston Globe. (G, 85 min., 1970)

Tickets: $9 for adults, $5 for students

Sponsored by Colby College Department of French and Italian


February 15, 2016
7:00 PM


Waterville Opera House
1 Common Street
Waterville, ME United States
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