Thursday, April 23, 2009

Truffaut's daughter remembers The Wild Child

From the Calgary Herald: Laura Truffaut recalls her weeks as a 10-year-old visitor to the set of her dad's classic film. The Wild Child, writer Nancy Tousley explains, is the story of Victor, "the Wild Child of Aveyron, who is sighted in the forest [in 1798] by a woman gathering mushrooms. Hunters chase the naked child who lopes along on all fours and climbs high up in the trees. Using dogs, they capture and overpower him. Dr. Jean Itard, a physician, takes the child in to socialize him and see if he can teach him to speak."

Money quote from Laura Truffaut: "For my father, the film really was about neglect and care, not about love. I think he really felt that to be human is to be cared for or to care for others. He didn’t want to romanticize the character of the doctor. The movie was made at the time of the hippie movement, at the time of a much more romantic view of a return to nature, and my father was a little bit at odds with that... For him, when the child is alone in the forest, it was a state of neglect. It was not the way a child should be having to live. It was dangerous. He was abandoned. No matter how repetitive the doctor’s exercises were (for the child to do), they are a demonstration of care.”

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