2014 saw many wonderful films with wild in the title, as in US produced “Wild” by Jean-Marc Vallée and Argentinian “Wild Tales” by Damián Szifrón, both Oscar-nominated films. A third title came out of France, which is Céderic Kahn's "Wild Life", based on the improbable but true story of the father who managed to keep their two children hidden from the mother and the community for 11 years. The story is told naturalistically and straight forward, as we follow the boys and the father, moving from one hiding place to the next. The film contrast the allure and hardship of the alternative lifestyle the father has chosen for himself and the boys beautifully, the very same lifestyle the mother tried to rescue them from. In one scene the father is standing in the rain, holding a tarpaulin over his head with the half naked boys clinging to him for warmth. A close-up of their belongings show their bags laying soaking wet on the ground. Another scene shows a close-up of the happy boys in beautiful backlit sunlight while there are examining a snake on the ground, an almost Eden-like picture.
The boys are now 23 and 24 years old, and the lifestyle the father forced upon them has left a strong imprint. They are very comfortable around animals and love to be in nature. But unlike the father, they are trying to integrate back into society, and not live isolated from the world. They are still very close to him, but unfortunately it has been difficult to form a close relationship with their mother. Relations with the eldest brother is good.
”Wild Life” was recently shown at Film Society of Lincoln Center's 20th Rendez-Vous with French Film. Director Céderic Kahn was careful to point out that according to him, both the mother and the father are responsible for this tragedy, and that the film is told from the perspective of the children. Personally I thought the story was beautifully told and highly recommend the film.