From nearly the opening frame of Bertrand Mandico's Les garçons sauvages (The Wild Boys) it's transparent that one is in for a singular vision, as the film delivers a kaleidoscope of style in which a rich tapestry of varying aesthetic designs evoke a visceral, immersive experience. Les garcons sauvages is an evocation which doesn't always feel like a cohesive vision, at least early on, but it's constantly entrancing, offering up sequences of image and sonance which form a cinematic iconography that is nightmarish and fetishistic, one which is perhaps best described as Querelle directed by Guy Maddin. A queer odyssey, Les garcons sauvages has been described as homoerotic or feminist, and yet while the film certainly rejects crude masculinity and often the aggression which it can manifest, the film's true deconstruction takes things a step further, being an utter rejection of gender classification and any authority or power structure which wishes to define the identity of any such individual. The principle characters of this story are a group of young boys that commit a brutal crime, yet while the film laments at times through the prism of a mysterious woman they bestow about how masculinity is responsible for so much of the violence in the world, the film explicitly rejects this woman's ideological principle in the film's finale. The final line of the film, when one of the "wild boys" pronounces: "And if I cannot become a woman, I will become a captain", is an acknowledgement of personal empowerment when it comes to gender identity, with Mandico seemingly recognizing that this woman herself is an oppressive force in her own right, much like the captain early in the film who is tough-minded and disciplinarian. Given the film's experimental sensibilities and at times, unwieldy nature, much of this is certainly up to interpretation, but what Les garcons sauvages is able to elicit over its 110 minute running time is a fascinating expose on gender identity, sexualization, pleasure, and control.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.