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The Wild Child(L'Enfant sauvage)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France
·
1970

Rated G · 1h 23m

Director François Truffaut
Starring Jean-Pierre Cargol, François Truffaut, Françoise Seigner, Jean Dasté

Genre Drama, History

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Director François Truffaut makes a rare on-screen appearance in one of his most unusual films. Based on a true story, the film follows the discovery of a feral child (Jean-Pierre Cargol) who's grown up wild in the forest in late-18th-century France. Truffaut plays Dr. Jean Itard, the deaf specialist who tries to civilize the boy, teaching him to walk, speak and read; the screenplay was adapted from Itard's writings.

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90

Variety by

It progresses slowly but absorbingly. Truffaut underplays but exudes an interior tenderness and dedication. The boy is amazingly and intuitively well played by a tousled gypsy tyke named Jean-Pierre Cargol. Everybody connected with this unusual, off-beat film made in black-and-white rates kudos.
80

Village Voice by Nicolas Rapold

Rather than present a clichéd fall from grace, Truffaut elicits ambivalence by closely tracking the Enlightened scientist’s optimism; after the fascination, our inchoate sadness seeps in.
100

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

So often movies keep our attention by flashy tricks and cheap melodrama; it is an intellectually cleansing experience to watch this intelligent and hopeful film.
88

Boston Globe by Ty Burr

Nearly 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.

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