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The Wild Boys

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“Do you know the story of Tanguy? Tanguy and the wild boys?”

It’s a story that you know. Rich, entitled teenage boys commit an act of sexual violence. Their deadly crime is the latest in a long list of anti-social offenses: public drunkenness, brawls, insults to faculty, abuse of domestic help. Protected by their privilege, the five boys are released back to their families for disciplining.

It’s a story you think you know, only to instead enter a cinematic fever dream that is erotic, exotic and queer. In this tale of masculinity and metamorphosis, LES GARÇONS SAUVAGES/THE WILD BOYS takes the notion that “boys will be boys” and throws it overboard into the high seas.

The story of Tanguy and his friends continues when the wealthy families hire a Dutch captain to civilize the boys and make them docile. The gang will spend the next two months at sea alone with the captain tied to his ship, staring at his sexually ambiguous body, and eating nothing but hairy fruit.

In time, the boys will disembark on a mysterious island where the hairy fruit grows. The island exhales swampy pleasures and dangers. It is a hallucinatory place of sentient vegetation, where milky fluids pour from phallic plants, and sand and feathers mix with rum.

French director Bertrand Mandico films the boys’ exploits and power dynamics with stylized artificiality — an aesthetic choice that compliments the film’s questioning of gender. Mandico, an experimental filmmaker, also invokes the films of Guy Maddin with his cool black and white cinematography, interrupted with color-saturated bursts of Kenneth Anger.

LES GARÇONS SAUVAGES/THE WILD BOYS is a fantastical castaway tale that leaves you marooned on the ever-shifting shoreline of sex and gender. It will leave you wanting more and more of that juicy, hairy fruit.

Dolissa Medina

Credits

Original title: Les garcons sauvages
Frankreich 2017, 110 min
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Director: Bertrand Mandico
Author: Bertrand Mandico
Montage: Laure Saint-Marc
Music: Pierre Desprats
Distributor: dropout cinema
Cast: Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Mathilde Warnier, Pauline Lorillard, Anaël Snoek
FSK: 16
Release: 23.05.2019

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ALLE ANGABEN OHNE GEWÄHR.
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