A Strange Fruit – The Wild Boys (Film Review)

Rating:

A feminized world would be free of war and conflict is the point this piece is putting across. It illustrates this vividly with a group of boys motivated to commit crimes by their primal impulses (Trevor), a male captain in between his transformation from man to woman and grotesque and hairy fruit which is the “special diet” for the boys. The Wild Boys (2017) is daring and experimental, to say the least, although it can also be laughable at times for its imagery and blatant mention of the male anatomy.


After the wild boys sexually assault their teacher the only suitable solution is to put them in the hands of the Captain (Sam Louwyck) – an individual able to turn such wild boys civilized. This is proven with the boy he arrives with on a leach upon the first appearance that was once as wild as the bunch set to sail.

They board the ship enthused and naive, unaware of their imprisonment and the change to ensure on the island that brings pleasure to all that set foot on it, and for that very reason, this island can also be quite dangerous too.

Strong performances all round thanks to the cast’s sheer commitment to the story and the characters they had to portray. Although attention must be paid to the wild boys which were in fact all female actors – making their own transformation consist of short haircuts and false genitalia, whereas on-screen their fictitious jump from one to the other meant waking to breasts and their male parts falling off and washing away at sea – this is simply a prelude to the vulgarity director Bertrand Mandico (Depressive Cop, 2017) has in store for the viewer.

The mix of music and aesthetic evokes a nightmarish surrealist picture that is truly where the director Mandico put his focus, rather than setting it elsewhere. It’s certain that cinematographer Pascale Granel (Errances, 2003) had plenty of fun with this piece due to the long line of interesting sequence. Credit should be given to Granel as it’s much more likely that the artistic decisions made were by Mandico – and the over saturation of the absurd begins.

The musical composition by Pierre Desprats (Theo & Hugo, 2016) is effective in drawing emotion out of its viewer and standing it into the long list of weird cinema shoulder to shoulder with Dogtooth, Anti Christ etc. Jumping from hazy and softly ambient scores to jabbing and high pitch wails. This isn’t a piece that’ll soothe the viewer into comfort.

The fault clearly lies in the sheer overindulgence of imagery and which only seems to succeed in distracting the viewer from the intriguing point attempting to be made. That would’ve at least meant that the piece had more sense and less chaos, rather than more chaos and less sense.

Dir: Bertrand Mandico

Scr: Bertrand Mandico

Prd: Emmanuel Chaumet & Mathilde Delaunay

Cast: Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek, Mathilde Warnier, Sam Louwyck, Elina Löwensohn etc

DOP: Pascale Granel

Music: Pierre Desprats

Runtime: 1h 50min

Country: France

The Wild Boys (2017) will be released in UK cinemas on the 14th of September 2018.